From W. Somerset Maugham’s novel. Screenplay by Herman J. Mankiewicz.
Associate producer Frank Shaw.
Photography by Woody Bredell, edited by Ted Kent. Assistant director William Holland. Special photography by John P. Fulton.
Miss Durbin’s wardrobe by Muriel King and Howard Greer. Art direction by John B. Goodman and Robert Clatworthy. Set decorations by R.A. Gausman and E.R. Robinson. Gowns by Vera West.
Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year by Frank Loesser. Always by Irving Berlin.
Music score and direction by H.J Salter. Vocal coach, Andres de Segurola. Sound director Bernard B. Brown. Technician, Joe Lapis.
Produced by Felix Jackson.
Directed by Robert Siodmak.
More on the history of the film is available from the AFI catalog.
I don’t usually do seasonal movies, but Eddie Muller recently mentioned that Christmas Holiday would never be shown on TCM because of rights issues, so I thought I’d take a look. This movie is a marked change for Deanna Durbin, and for Gene Kelly. Only a few years earlier, Durbin’s first screen kiss (from Robert Stack) was the subject of a major publicity campaign for First Love (1939). Except for the framing, there’s very little Christmas in this movie. And man do they play the heck out of Always.
This movie is so dark that I would expect The New York Times to pan it, especially as it makes no effort to uplift morale during the war.
Calling Bosley Crowther!
We have ol’ Bosley (June 29, 1944), but what does he say?
Oh he hated it. Win!
The advancement of Deanna Durbin toward dramatic maturity is rather bluntly accelerated by Universal in the young star’s new film — the item called Christmas Holiday, which came to Loew’s Criterion yesterday. And without even letting Miss Durbin take the figurative braces off her teeth, the studio has herein tossed her an adult emotional role to chew. As it turns out, the role is but a figment within a moody and hackneyed yarn. And if Miss Durbin’s career is not nourished by it, the fault is not altogether hers.
For the story which Herman J. Mankiewicz has written is the oldest sort of hat — the kind of dramatic farrago that was being played by faded stars ten years ago. And it has but the vaguest resemblance to the Somerset Maugham novel on which it is “based.” The idea is that a young soldier, cruelly jilted in love on the even of his intended nuptials (and on the eve of Christmas too) falls in with a melancholy “hostess” in a questionable New Orleans “club” and becomes the grave and sympathetic listener to this young lady’s tale of woe.
Note: Those quotations marks are doing a lot of heavy lifting.
For Monday, we have a mysterious concert hall.
Update: This is Philharmonic Auditorium (RIP).
We also have a mysterious church.
Update: This is St. Vibiana’s.
For Tuesday, we have a mystery gent.
Update: This is Richard Whorf.
Brain Trust roll call: Bob Hansen (mystery movie and mystery leads) and Phillip Signey (mystery cathedral).
For “Hmm Wednesday,” we have a mystery officer.
Update: This is David Bruce.
Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (mystery movie, Tuesday’s mystery gent, mystery leads), Howard Mandelbaum (mystery movie and Tuesday’s mystery guest), David Inman (Tuesday’s mystery guest) and Mike Hawks (Tuesday’s mystery guest).
Update: This is Gale Sondergaard.
Update: This is Gladys George as a “hostess” in a “club” who arranges “dates” for “lonely servicemen.” Also Dean Harens.
Brain Trust roll call: Mary Mallory (Wednesday’s mystery lieutenant), Tucson Barbara (mystery movie, Tuesday’s mysterious reporter) and Mike Hawks (mystery movie and Wednesday’s mysterious lieutenant).
Note to Howard: He’s in this movie but in another role.
And for Friday, our mystery leads.
Update: This is Deanna Durbin and Gene Kelly, rocking a bow tie.
Brain Trust roll call: Tucson Barbara (Thursday’s mystery guests), Funky PhD (mystery movie, Thursday’s mystery woman No. 2), Howard Mandelbaum (Wednesday’s mystery lieutenant and Thursday’s mystery guests), Mary Mallory (Thursday’s mystery guests), Anne Papineau (mystery movie and Thursday’s mystery women), Mike Hawks (Thursday’s mystery guests), L.C. (mystery movie and mystery cast) and Sylvia E. (mystery movie, Thursday’s mystery woman No. 1).
Only L.C. ended up in the spam folder this week, which may be an improvement.