This week’s mystery movie was the 1944 Universal picture Christmas Holiday, with Deanna Durbin, Gene Kelly, Richard Whorf, Dean Harens, Gladys George, Gale Sondergaard and David Bruce.
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.
Christmas Holiday is not commercially available in the U.S., though it’s available in a PAL release. There’s a low-resolution version on YouTube. Also Archive.org.
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).
For “Aha Thursday,” we have this mystery woman.
Update: This is Gale Sondergaard.
We also have this mystery woman and this mystery officer.
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.
I don’t know the movie, but the orchestra is playing the Christmas section of Handel’s Messiah.
Is the movie Christmas Holiday (1944), with Deanna Durbin and Gene Kelly?
THE MIRACLE OF THE BELLS.
A good guess, but alas….
Church is St. Vibianas, the former Cathedral on Main Street
CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY, Richard Whorf today. I can take cover all bases by naming everyone in the cast though they’re not in the picture splatter approach too, and Deanna Durbin and Gene Kelly are the stars. Should I name the director and writers too?
Richard Whorf in CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY (1944).
Richard Whorf today — is this “Keeper of the Flame”?
Richard Whorf in YANKEE DOODLE DANDY.
Tues – Richard Whorf
Wed – Richard Davies
David Bruce in CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY.
Thurs – Gale Sondergaard, Gladys George, Dean Harens
Thursday’s second mystery woman is Gladys George; movie is Christmas Holiday.
Dean Harens today with Gladys George, preceded by Gale Sondergaard. David Bruce on Wednesday.
Gale Sondergaard, gladys george, and Dean Harens.
Gale Sondergaard and Gladys George in “Christmas Holiday”
Gale Sondergaard, Gladys George and Dean Harens.
Christmas Holiday (1944) w/Deanna Durbin, Gene Kelly, Richard Whorf, Gale Sondergard, Gladys George, Dean Harens, David Bruce…
Just because of the season and Thursday’s first mystery woman, here’s my guess.
Christmas Holiday – 1944
The only person I recognize so far is Gale Sondergaard.
Tomorrow:. Deanna Durbin, Gene Kelly, Gladys George and Richard Whorf.
Heck of a plot line, whew!
Finally Deanna Durbin and Gene Kelly.
Deanna Durbin and Gene Kelly
Deanna Durbin & Gene Kelly.
Just as I suspected…Living in a Big Way.
Deanna Durbin and Gene Kelly.