Monday, November 18, 2013

Holiday (1938)

Great cast. Fine romance. Good laughs.

This is a Holiday worth taking.

Johnny Case (Cary Grant) is convinced he's finally in love. His romance with Julia Seaton (Doris Nolan) is definitely a whirlwhind. The happy couple has just met and is already planning to walk down the aisle - pronto. "It's love fellas," Case tells friends Nick and Susan Porter (Edward Everett Horton, Jean Dixon). "I met the girl."

Case is a little surprised when he visits his future better half's home for the first time. The address she told him to attend is a huge home. Case figures Julia is employed at the property. Nope. It's her family's home. They're rich. Very, very rich. Father Edward Seton (Henry Kolker) is quite serious about the business of making money. Nothing else seems to matter much.

Case has his share of business savvy too, but he also wants to step away from the rat race, at least for a short while, and just enjoy life. Such a carefree approach to the bottom-line doesn't impress Seton and Julia appears to have her concerns too. She's confident Johnny has the talent to earn millions of his own. Her siblings aren't quite in love with the almighty dollar.

Brother Ned (Lew Ayres) has the talent to be a professional musician, but a career in the arts is something Edward doesn't want for his son, So, Ned drinks. A lot. "It's my protection against your tiresome friends," he suggests of alcohol's allure.

Sister Linda Seaton (Katharine Hepburn) is a free spirit just like Hepburn. She's happy her sibling has found love, but can't deny there's something about Johnny that she finds attractive too. "You haven't been bitten by the reverence for riches," Linda tells Johnny in one of the best lines from director George Cukor's 1938 romance. "Money is our god here."

Pops and Julia put the screws to Johnny - work for the family firm for a while before taking his much hoped for break. Linda urges him to stand firm to his dream. Johnny, distressed by how cash is putting a strain on his romance with Julia, finds himself drawn to Linda.

Here's a love story with some real chemistry between the leads. Love sure looks better than money here, which may have thrown audiences as the Great Depression was ending. The Seatons have the cash. Johnny has the life. Holiday is a fine film.

RATING: 9/10

FUN FACTS: Holiday is a rare chance to see Doris Nolan and Jean Dixon. Their film and television credits are limited - 25 and 16 respectively. Holiday is Dixon's last big screen appearance before some roles on television.

Hurray for Binne Barnes and her wonderful snooty work as the Seaton cousin Laura.

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