The Info List - Christmas Holiday

Holiday is a 1944 film noir crime film directed by Robert Siodmak starring Deanna Durbin
Deanna Durbin
and Gene Kelly.[1] Based on the 1939 novel of the same name by W. Somerset Maugham, the film is about a woman who marries a Southern aristocrat who inherited his family's streak of violence and instability and soon drags the woman into a life of misery. After he is arrested, the woman runs away from her husband's family, changes her name, and finds work as a singer in a New Orleans
New Orleans
dive.[2] The film received an Academy Award
Academy Award
nomination for Best Musical Score for Hans J. Salter.


1 Plot 2 Cast 3 Production

3.1 Screenplay 3.2 Casting 3.3 Soundtrack

4 Reception

4.1 Box-office 4.2 Critical response

5 See also 6 References 7 External links

Plot[edit] On Christmas
Eve in New Orleans, U.S. Army officer Charlie Mason meets beautiful Maison Lafitte hostess "Jackie" (whose real name is Abigail Manette). She tells him, in flashbacks, the story of the decline of her marriage with the charming but unbalanced Robert Manette. When her husband kills a bookie his controlling mother tries to cover it up. When he is caught she and her son blame Abigail. Abigail, feeling guilty when her husband receives a life sentence, becomes a bar hostess. Meanwhile, Robert escapes from jail and comes to see Abigail, but he is shot by police and dies in her arms, leaving her to start again with Charlie Mason. Cast[edit]

Deanna Durbin
Deanna Durbin
as Abigail Manette Gene Kelly
Gene Kelly
as Robert Manette Richard Whorf as Simon Fenimore Dean Harens as Charlie Mason Gladys George
Gladys George
as Valerie de Merode Gale Sondergaard
Gale Sondergaard
as Mrs. Manette David Bruce as Gerald Tyler[1][3]

Production[edit] Screenplay[edit] Producer Walter Wanger
Walter Wanger
first planned to make W. Somerset Maugham's novel Christmas
Holiday into a film in 1939,[1] but the Hays Office rejected his proposal as they felt the novel's story about an Englishman meeting a beautiful Russian prostitute was too sordid. In 1943, Durbin's future husband Felix Jackson gained permission to film the novel provided he change the characters. Universal optioned the book rights in March 1943. Screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz
Herman J. Mankiewicz
changed the setting from a Paris brothel to a nightclub in New Orleans
New Orleans
and the main character was changed from a prostitute to a more ambiguous nightclub singer and hostess.[4] Mankiewicz considered the screenplay among his 1940s successes of which he was most proud. Casting[edit] Producer Felix Jackson chose this project as a dramatic vehicle for Deanna Durbin, a change from Durbin's usual lightweight musical fare.[2] Universal loaned Turhan Bey
Turhan Bey
to MGM
in exchange for Gene Kelly who played her husband.[4] Gene Kelly
Gene Kelly
and Deanna Durbin
Deanna Durbin
are cast against type in this sordid and dark film. Kelly gives a "disturbingly convincing portrayal as a man virtually devoured by his inner demons."[2] Durbin, usually the girl next door in Universal Pictures musicals, plays a naif who falls for him and sticks with him even knowing he's a killer. Christmas
Holiday was the first film Durbin starred in that had not been specifically written for her.[4] Gale Sondergaard is cast as Kelly's tyrannical mother. Soundtrack[edit] Durbin sings the songs "Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year" by Frank Loesser
Frank Loesser
and "Always" by Irving Berlin. There are also excerpts from Tristan und Isolde
Tristan und Isolde
(Liebestod) by Richard Wagner, "Silent Night, Holy Night" by Franz Xaver Gruber, and Latin chant for the Midnight Mass scene (which was footage of an actual Tridentine Mass
Tridentine Mass
at the Cathedral of Saint Vibiana).[1][5] Reception[edit] Box-office[edit] Although the film was a box office success for Durbin, she was criticised for having tarnished her trademark persona playing a dance-hall "hostess". The film went on to gross more than $2 million at the US box office, making it the highest-grossing film of Durbin's career up to 1944.[4] Durbin later said in an interview with Films in Review that Christmas
Holiday was her "only really good film".[6] Christmas
Holiday is considered one of the bleakest film noirs of the 1940s, and one of Siodmak's most personally realized films. Critical response[edit] In his review for The New York Times, Bosley Crowther called the story "the oldest sort of hat—the kind of dramatic farrago that was being played by faded stars ten years ago."[7] Crowther wrote that it was "really grotesque and outlandish what they've done to Miss Durbin in this film"—forced to play a role that is "a figment within a moody and hackneyed yarn."[7] Crowther criticized Mankiewicz' screenplay, which has "but the vaguest resemblance to the Somerset Maugham novel on which it is 'based'".[7] Although not blaming Durbin for the film's shortcomings, Crowther is severe in his criticism of her performance:

As the piteously wronged young lady, Miss Durbin does all that she can to suggest an emotional turmoil. But her efforts are painfully weak. Her speaking voice is girlish and empty of quality, and her gestures of shock and frustration are attitudinized.[7]

Crowther is no more charitable towards Gene Kelly, who "performs her no good husband in his breezy, attractive style, which is thoroughly confusing, considering the character that he is supposed to be."[7] See also[edit]

List of American films of 1944


^ a b c d " Christmas
Holiday (1944)". The New York Times. Retrieved September 12, 2012.  ^ a b c Erickson, Hal. " Christmas
Holiday Review Summary". The New York Times. Retrieved September 12, 2012.  ^ "Full cast and crew for Christmas
Holiday". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved September 12, 2012.  ^ a b c d American Film Institute (1999). The American Film Institute Catalog of Motion Pictures Produced in the United States: Feature Films, 1941-1950, Volume 2. University of California Press. pp. 425–26. ISBN 0520215214.  ^ "Soundtracks for Christmas
Holiday". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved September 12, 2012.  ^ Everson, William K. (1976). "The career of Deanna Durbin". Films in Review vol. 27 no. 9. p. 526.  ^ a b c d e Crowther, Bosley. "' Christmas
Holiday,' Presenting Deanna Durbin in Serious and Emotional Role, Supported by Gene Kelly". The New York Times. Retrieved September 12, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Holiday on IMDb Christmas
Holiday at AllMovie Christmas
Holiday at the TCM Movie Database Christmas
Holiday on Lux Radio Theater, September 17, 1945 Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year sung by Deanna Durbin Always sung by Deanna Durbin

v t e

Films directed by Robert Siodmak

Europe 1930–1939

People on Sunday
People on Sunday
(1930) Abschied (1930) Inquest (1931) The Man in Search of His Murderer (1931) Storms of Passion
Storms of Passion
(1932) Quick (1932) The Burning Secret
The Burning Secret
(1933) The Weaker Sex (1933) The Crisis is Over (1934) La Vie parisienne (1936) Parisian Life (1936) Compliments of Mister Flow (1936) White Cargo (1937) Mollenard (1938) Personal Column (1939)

Hollywood 1941–1950

West Point Widow (1941) Fly-by-Night (1942) The Night Before the Divorce
The Night Before the Divorce
(1942) My Heart Belongs to Daddy (1942) Someone to Remember
Someone to Remember
(1943) Son of Dracula (1943) Phantom Lady (1944) Cobra Woman
Cobra Woman
(1944) Christmas
Holiday (1944) The Suspect (1944) The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry
The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry
(1945) The Spiral Staircase (1946) The Killers (1946) The Dark Mirror (1946) Time Out of Mind (1947) Cry of the City
Cry of the City
(1948) Criss Cross (1949) The Great Sinner (1949) The File
on Thelma Jordon (1950) Deported (1950) The Whistle at Eaton Falls (1951)

Europe 1952–1969

The Crimson Pirate
The Crimson Pirate
(1952) Flesh and the Woman
Flesh and the Woman
(1954) Die Ratten (1955) The Devil Strikes at Night
The Devil Strikes at Night
(1957) Dorothea Angermann (1959) Magnificent Sinner
Magnificent Sinner
(1959) The Rough and the Smooth (1959) Escape from East Berlin
Escape from East Berlin
(1962) Die Pyramide des Sonnengottes
Die Pyramide des Sonnengottes
(1965) Custer of the West
Custer of the West
(1967) Kampf u