Loaded with a wealth of songs, it’s meaty, not too kaleidoscopic and yet closely knit for a compact 100 minutes of tiptop filmusical entertainment. The idea is a natural, and Irving Berlin has fashioned some peach songs to fit the highlight holidays.
Plot is a new slant on a backstage story. Bing Crosby is the crooner, Fred Astaire the hoofer, partnered with brunet and fickle Virginia Dale. Latter jilts Crosby for Astaire (who subsequently becomes No. 2 to a Texan millionaire) which thus leaves the frankly lazy Crosby to carry out his Holiday Inn idea on his own. The crooner has figured out there are some 15 holidays in the year and by operating a Connecticut roadhouse on those festive occasions only he can loaf the rest of the 340 days.
Thus are strung together these songs and ideas: ‘White Christmas’; ‘Let’s Start the New Year Right’; ‘Abraham’, a modern spiritual for Lincoln’s Birthday holiday; ‘Be Careful, It’s My Heart’ (St Valentine’s Day); ‘I Gotta Say I Love You, ‘Cause I Can’t Tell a Lie’ (Washington’s birthday); ‘Easter Parade’, of course; ‘I’m Singing a Song of Freedom’, wherein Crosby, attired as the Freedom Man (with a snatch of ‘Any Bonds Today?’) introduces himself as an American Troubadour.
Mark Sandrich’s production and direction are more than half the success of the picture.
1942: Best Song (‘White Christmas’).
Nominations: Best Original Story, Scoring of a Musical Picture