A young man in love with a girl from a rich family finds his unorthodox plan to go on holiday for the early years of his life met with skepticism by everyone except for his fiancée's eccentric sister and long-suffering brother.
Free-thinking Johnny Case finds himself betrothed to a millionaire's daughter. When her family, with the exception of black-sheep Linda and drunken Ned, want Johnny to settle down to big business, he rebels, wishing instead to spend the early years of his life on "holiday." With the help of his friends Nick and Susan Potter, he makes up his mind as to which is the better course, and the better mate.Written by
Terri A. Mabry <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #1009. See more »
Just after professor Potter and his wife leave the elevator, moments before meeting Linda in the play room, he says: "Seems to have been some sort of residence at one time." However, his mouth does not move. See more »
Edward 'Ned' Seton:
You see, Father wanted a large family so Mother promptly had Linda, but Linda was a girl so Mother promptly had Julia, but Julia was a girl and the whole thing seemed hopeless. Then, the following year Mother had me, it was a boy and the fair name of Seaton would flourish.
Edward 'Ned' Seton:
Drink to Mother , Johnny, she tried to be a Seaton for a while, then gave up and died.
You're talking out of your hat, Ned.
Edward 'Ned' Seton:
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Now THIS is romance Back in the mid-late 1930's, when Katherine Hepburn, though she had already won an Oscar, was labeled (along with several other actresses) "box office poison", it was Hollywood that suffered. Unfortunately, after the Production Code blasted out full throttle, strong roles for women disappeared because women no longer had a strong voice in cinema, so a lot of the heavier-hitters (Hepburn, Joan Crawford, Miriam Hopkins) ended up foundering in what they were given. In the case of George Cukor's 1938 film "Holiday", she had a couple of friends involved with the picture who insisted that she be used (she had been the understudy of her film counterpart on the stage) which turned out to be an excellent plan since she is one of the many great things about this film.
Set in New York, "Holiday" stars Carey Grant as Johnny Case, a fledgling businessman who is more concerned about making a career out of something he wants to do, and not what he should do in order to make a lot of money. He has a plan; he has been working hard at a job that he doesn't particularly like to save enough money to take an indeterminate time off to figure out what he wants to do with himself. While he takes a holiday, he meets Julia Seton (Nolan), the two fall in love and go back to New York to tell Julia's father. What Johnny doesn't know is that Julia comes from an extremely wealthy family, and while he is shocked and bemused by this fact, he finds himself taken with the other members of Julia's family; Linda Seton (Hepburn), Julia's free-thinking and dramatic sister, and brother Ned Seton (Ayres) a kind but dour alcoholic. Both siblings are discontented with being under their father's thumb (while he is not a bad person, Edward Seton has strong feelings about how things should be handled) and both take an instant liking to Johnny, particularly Linda who finds herself falling in love with him. As plans for the marriage begin to solidify, it becomes clear that Johnny is being forced to quash his dreams, not only to gain the approval of their father, but because Julia thinks it is the way to go as well.
Having never even heard of this film, I wasn't sure what to expect out of "Holiday"; I figured it might either be a screwball comedy (based on the Hepburn/Grant collaboration in "Bringing up Baby") or maybe a regular romantic comedy. What I got was actually a romantic dramedy that was not only charming but heartfelt as well. George Cukor's direction (as usual) is wonderful and the chemistry between Hepburn and Grant is simply electric. Hepburn, clearly the star of this production, acts each scene with an emotion and charm that is almost unheard of in the mainstream cinema of the present. While I watched the film, I found myself becoming so endeared to her character that I probably would have been completely devastated if she didn't get some sort of happiness in the end, probably one of the highest compliments that I can give to an actor's performance since I mainly pay attention to the story and the film itself primarily and the characters are important, but seem to be secondary. Grant, who is probably most famous for being debonair and dashing, often played the goofball in his films of the 30's and early 40's, and this was another one of those roles for him. He is such a fresh and passionate character however, (he often finds himself doing various acrobatic stunts with glee) that he quickly proves himself to be more than just the handsome doofus who makes bug eyes at the camera when he's confused. He and Hepburn actually look like they're having a good time together in this film; a wonderful thing to see when it seems that 90% of collaborations look like they are phoned in nowadays. If Doris Nolan isn't unremarkable and bland all the time, she did a really great job in her role as fiancée Julia at some point you're really wondering what Johnny ever really saw in her and made him declare his bachelorhood over with at the age of 30. Lew Ayres, a name I had heard before, but didn't recognize by face was also very charming as the alcoholic brother. I found his character to be incredibly endearing, especially as the film progressed. A mention also has to be made of the actors who played Johnny's best friends, the Potters. (Edward Everett Horton & Jean Dixon) Anyone would be hard pressed to dislike these two intellectuals with senses of humor that are more arid than the Mojave. Every scene they were in became even more enjoyable.
What stuck with me is that between the script and the actors, I felt like I was actually watching a real slice of life, kind of like Booth Tarkington without the depression. "Holiday" is a fantastic hidden gem in the classic film catalogue and I would recommend it very highly. Not only is it short in length, but also its engaging story, steady pacing and brilliant actors made me wish it were longer. Watch this wonderful movie if you have any ounce of appreciation for classic film. 8/10 --Shelly
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