GetTV kicked off the holiday season earlier this month with “Happy Holidays from Bing and Frank,” the 1957 Christmas episode from the “Frank Sinatra Show”—airing again tonight in celebration of Sinatra’s 99th birthday. It’s a charming, if slightly bizarre, holiday special… as I think many classic holiday specials are. The boys certainly encourage—and partake in—some holiday libations throughout the show, …
This was a great year in vintage film for me, with my That’s Entertainment project starting at the beginning of 2013, and The Vintage Cameo starting in May, so I thought I’d go through and pull together a list of some of my favorite older movies I saw for the first time this year. I chose one for each month to cultivate some sense of order, and to restrict me from just talking about all the new Gene Kelly movies I saw.
Holiday Inn, the 1942 musical that teamed up Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire for the first time, is… mostly a Christmas movie. It begins and ends at Christmas, of course, and won an Oscar for spawning the classic song, “White Christmas”–which later became a star on its own, in the sort-of-sequel, sort-of-remake, White Christmas, as well as holding the record as the best-selling song for over 50 years. But Holiday Inn was never designed to be a vehicle for delivering Christmas songs unto a willing audience. Rather, the point was to cover a whole range of holidays throughout the year, from New Year’s Day to New Year’s Eve, and allow people to accent nearly every moment of their life with a specialized Irving Berlin song. (People at this time already had “God Bless America,” but were sadly lacking any Berlin tunes to play for Thanksgiving, Washington’s Birthday, or many other holidays.) So, though I’m comfortable calling it a Christmas movie, it is a bit of an accidental Christmas movie.
It didn’t take much to get me to peak excitement for this film: Rat Pack + Robin Hood set in 1920s Chicago, and I was pretty much sold. Even if it turned out to be not great, the pieces were already set to make for a great movie experience.
Well, that’ll teach me to actually read the synopses before seeing the movie: I got about 5 minutes into High Society thinking, “Hmm, this is awfully similar to The Philadelphia Story before realizing that–well, yes, that’s because it IS The Philadelphia Story.
I tend to avoid synopses and trailers and so on before seeing movies if I can… I figure if I’ve already got enough to convince me to see the movie another way, I don’t need to do any further research. The last time this happened was with The Matchmaker, which had seemed awfully similar to Hello, Dolly–though really, in that case, it was the other way around since Matchmaker was out first.
It’s probably a testament to their incredible individual success that the comedy duo of Crosby and Hope–that is, Bing Crosby and Bob Hope–isn’t as well-known among casual moviegoers as say, an Abbott and Costello or Laurel and Hardy. But for seven films spanning an astounding 22 years, Crosby and Hope took to the high seas, …