Thursday, October 27, 2011

Film | Holiday (1938)

A few weeks ago I sat down for what I called a "Grantburn" double-feature. I have already written about the first film, Bringing Up Baby (which you can see here), and here we have the second... 1938's Holiday. And guess what?!? This is the 75th post on Blame Mame!

HOLIDAY (1938)

"If you had a million... 
which sister would you pick to spend it with?"

Cary Grant as Johnny Case
Katharine Hepburn as Linda Seton
Doris Nolan as Julia Seton
Lew Ayres as Ned Seton

Engaged to wealthy Julia Seton (Doris Nolan), freethinker Johnny Case (Cary Grant) discovers that her family wants to remake him into their idea of the perfect son-in-law -- and he's beginning to consider compromising his values. But as he gets to know Julia's headstrong sister (Katharine Hepburn), he realizes he has more in common with her. [Netflix]

I thought the scene where Johnny first comes into the 'play room' to chat with Linda, was quite charming. The sparks between the lead characters jumped off the screen. I especially liked when Linda was explaining which toys belonged to which sibling and talks about how the giraffe looked like her... I actually thought they did resemble each other.


Although Katharine Hepburn won praise for her portrayal as the repressed rich girl, she was overlooked more than once for the role of Linda Seton. When the play appeared on Broadway, Hepburn was the understudy for the role and when the original 1930 film was cast, she was overlooked in favor of Ann Harding. I also found it interesting that Katharine also used a scene from this film for her first screen test that won, that led to her first film role in A Bill of Divorcement. It seems she was destined to play this part at some point in her career.

I thought the film was beautifully directed, as most George Cukor films are. I have never noticed how many of my favorite films were part of his long list of directed films. He really was a 'woman's director'. He brought out amazing performances from all of the women he worked with. I look forward to seeing his other collaborations with Hepburn (A Bill of Divorcement, Sylvia Scarlett, Adams Rib) because she was so likeable in this film. She was the actress I loved in The Philadelphia Story and not the grating women I saw in Suddenly, Last Summer. I will definitely be checking out those other films soon.

And I just couldn't do a review of a Cary Grant film without commenting on how wonderful an actor I think he was. He was so likeable and even though he was playing against type, he portrayed Johnny with a lot of heart.

There was also a magnificent supporting cast on this film. You had Edward Horton and Jean Dixon as The Potters, Johnny's long time friends who want him to go after his dreams and not the dreams of his fiance. I really felt their characters truly loved Johnny and wanted only the best for him. Their reactions when first walking into the engagement party were the best... especially when the butler took his dress shoe off along with the snow boot. 


1 comment:

  1. Grant and Hepburn are a fine couple. I agree about their chemistry in the play room. How nice that Julia isn't made out to be an ice cold witch. She's a nice woman, just someone with different priorities than Johnny.