What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that kids will see a musical number performed in blackface. Crosby tries to lure his so-called friend's girlfriend away -- twice! And Astaire dances drunk -- literally!
What's the story?
When singer Jim Hardy (Bing Crosby) finds out that his fiancée is in love with smooth-talking dancer Ted Hanover (Fred Astaire), he skulks off to milk cows and lick his wounds on the farm he now owns. While his pride heals, a swell idea occurs to him: Why not turn the farm into an inn that's only open on holidays, with live entertainment and a homemade breakfast in the morning? A girl (Marjorie Reynolds) looking for her big show business break helps Hardy bring his daydream to fruition. Not only is his Holiday Inn a success thanks to her singing and dancing, he's falling in love to boot. But trouble's right around the corner. Hanover's girl has dropped him, it seems, and his search for a new dance partner has him once again courting Hardy's girl.
Is it any good?
Thirteen Irving Berlin numbers. Exploding peach preserves. Fred Astaire dancing drunk -- and not faking it! Yes, HOLIDAY INN has it all, including a lamentable scene in which Bing Crosby, in blackface and stovepipe hat, performs a tribute to Abraham Lincoln. My, oh my, things have certainly changed since 1942.
In spite of a few awkward numbers and a meager plot, Crosby and Astaire slap plenty of life into this black-and-white classic. In one number, Astaire spins across the stage with firecrackers popping at his feet. Seeing him maneuver clumsily across the dance floor with Marjorie Reynolds is another treat -- to play it convincingly drunk, Astaire took a hefty belt between each take. Crosby is the real charmer, though, as a decent, easygoing fellow whose idyllic life is threatened not just by a girl-stealing cad, but by his own awkwardness in expressing love. Worry not. As with most musicals, in the end it all works out for the best.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the blackface performance, both before and after the show. Why didn't white people consider black face performances to be offensive in the 1940s? Do you think African Americans were offended? Why or why not? How have attitudes changed since then? Why?