Thursday, July 8, 2010

Holiday (1938)

Director: George Cukor
Starring: Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn
Summary: Rich but down-to-earth Linda Seton (Hepburn) falls for her sister Julia's charming fiancee, Johnny Case (Grant).

My Take: Cary Grant's best performance, in my opinion. He pulls out some old vaudeville acrobatic tricks, which add to the appealing eccentricity of the character without being gratuitously quirky. He also handles the dramatic moments of the movie well - a slight change in his stance makes all the difference from the happy-go-lucky fiancee to the man who is watching his dreams crushed one by one. Katharine Hepburn does equally well, switching gears from silliness to melancholy with stunning ease. She gives her character emotional depth without slipping into melodrama... too often.
   Notable secondary characters include Nick and Susan Potter, friends of Case, who provide a much-needed reality check amid the splendor of the Seton mansion. For example:
              Susan: Don't tell anyone, but I've got a run in my stocking.
              Nick: Good heavens, we're ruined. [to the butler] Not a word of this to a soul.
   Although the ending of the movie seems as though it should be obvious, there are several factors that cast some refreshing doubt on the viewer's expectations.
Final Say: Holiday has the same director, leads, and writers as The Philadelphia Story, but it's much more likeable. A perfect hybrid movie for those who enjoyed the slapstick and throwaway lines of Bringing Up Baby and the dramatic impact of The Philadelphia Story. It would work well for all romantic comedy fans, even those who aren't familiar with other Grant-Hepburn movies.

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