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Holiday Inn: 75th Anniversary Edition (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 21, 2017 by  



“Holiday Inn: 75th Anniversary Edition” is a Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire and Irving Berlin classic.  Presented in its original B&W and also a colorized version, this is no doubt the best presentation of the film.  But even better is the inclusion of the wonderful “Holiday Inn: The Broadway Musical” on Blu-ray making this “Holiday Inn: 75th Anniversary Edition” worth owning!

Images courtesy of © 1942 Paramount Pictures Inc.  Renewed 1969 by EMKA. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Holiday Inn

DATE OF FILM RELEASE: 1942

DURATION: 1 Hr. and 41 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p (1:33:1 Aspect Ratio), English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio, English SDH, French and Spanish Subtitles

COMPANY: Universal Studios Home Entertainment

RATED: Not Rated

RELEASE DATE: November 28, 2017


Directed by Mark Sandrich

Screenplay by Claude Binyon

Adaptation by Elmer Rice

Idea by Irving Berlin

Produced by Mark Sandrich

Music by Robert Emmett Dolan

Cinematographer: David Abel

Edited by Ellsworth Hoagland

Art Direction by Roland Anderson, Hans Dreier

Costume Design by Edith Head

Holiday Inn: The Broadway Musical

Directed by David Horn

Produced by Mitch Owgang

Executive Producer: David Horn

Post Production Producer: Bill Kabel

Associate Producer: Julie Leonard

Lighting Designer: Alan Adelman

Audio Producer: Daryl Bornstein

Line Producer: Eileen Bernstein

Edited by Gary Bradley

Online Editor: Michiel Pilgram

Associate Editor: Annette Jolles

Production Manager: Lisa Richardson


Starring:

Bing Crosby as Jim Hardy

Fred Astaire as Ted Hanover

Marjorie Reynolds as Linda Mason

Virginia Dale as Lila Dixon

Walter Abel as Danny Reed Louise Beavers as Mamie

Irving Bacon as Gus

Marek Windheim as Francois

James Bell as Dunbar

John Gallaudet as Parker

Holiday Inn: The Broadway Musical

Bryce Pinkham as Jim Hardy

Corbin Bleu as Ted Hanover

Megan Sikora as Lila Dixon

Danny Rutigliano as Charlie Winslow

Morgan Gao as Charlie Winslow

Lora Lee Gayer as Linda Mason

Megan Lawrence as Louise


Screen legends Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire sing and dance their way into your heart in one of the most timeless holiday classics ever, Holiday Inn. Featuring the Academy Award-winning song, “White Christmas,” Crosby plays a song-and dance man who leaves showbiz to run an inn that is open only on holidays. Astaire plays his former partner and rival in love. Follow the two talented pals as they find themselves competing for the affections of the same lovely lady (Marjorie Reynolds). ‘Tis the season for one of the most sensational musical comedies of all time!


Filmmaker Mark Sandrich may be known for his films with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, but he’s also known for his 1942 holiday film “Holiday Inn” which he collaborated with Irving Berlin, who wrote the story and also wrote 12 songs for the film, one which would become a holiday classic…”White Christmas”.

Featuring choreography by Danny Dare, the film would bring together Bing Crosby (“Going My Way”, “Road to…” films, “White Christmas”) and Fred Astaire (“Top Hat”, “Swing Time”, “Funny Face”) with actress/dancer Virginia Dale (“Docks of New Orleans”, “The Singing Hill”).

The film would receive a 1943 Academy Award for Best Original Song for “White Christmas” and would receive numerous nominations for “Best Score” and “Best Original Story”.

And to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of “Holiday Inn”, Universal Studios Home Entertainment will be releasing the film on Blu-ray and will feature the original but also a color-version of the film.  Also, included is Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn: The Broadway Musical and a digital copy of the film.

“Holiday Inn” revolves around three individuals: Jim Hardy (portrayed by Bing Crosby), Ted Hanover (portrayed by Fred Astaire) and Lila Dixon (portrayed by Virginia Dale) and these three have a popular musical act.

Jim and Lila are getting married and are planning to retire and live in a farm in Connecticut, but Lila shocks Jim by telling him that she’s not done performing and that she has fallen for Ted and will continue on as his partner.

Jim is heartbroken by Lila’s decision but goes ahead and moves to Connecticut and says his goodbye to everyone.

A year later, he returns back to New York City on Christmas Eve and he has found farm life to be difficult but he comes up with an idea to turn his farm to an entertainment venue and call it the “Holiday Inn” and it will only be open on public holidays.  Ted and his agent Danny (portrayed by Walter Abel) think it’s a bad idea but they wish the best for Jim.

While Ted and Danny are at a flower shop in the airport, the employee Linda Mason (portrayed by Marjorie Reynolds) who recognizes Danny as a talent agent, begs him for a chance to work in show business.  He refers her to Jim’s Holiday Inn and next thing you know, Jim finds a new partner.

But when Ted finds out that Lila has left him for a Texas millionaire, Ted drives to the Holiday Inn to talk with Jim.  While drunk, he sees Linda and the two start dancing and everyone is ecstatic, especially Danny who thinks that Ted has found a new partner. But because Ted was drunk, both Ted and Danny do not know the woman that Ted was dancing with and the two now search for the woman who can be their next starlet.

Jim overhears the two and doesn’t want his friend to steal Linda away, like he did with Lila.

Will Jim become successful with the Holiday Inn with Linda?  Or will Ted entice Linda to join him as his partner and become big in show business?


VIDEO:

“Holiday Inn” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:33:1 aspect ratio).  The picture quality of “Holiday Inn” is very good.  Remastered, the film features wonderful clarity and black and white levels are sharp and looks much better than its older DVD counterpart.

As for the colorized version, this is based on the 2008 Legend Films colorization and no doubt one of the better colorization projects that Legend Films have done.  In fact, Legend Films worked with Edith Head’s sketch artist, Jan Muckelstone, as a color design consultant for costume authenticity.

As for “Holiday Inn: The Broadway Musical”, the musical is presented in 1:78:1 aspect ratio and the stage presentation is colorful but the best part of this musical is that there are many camera angles, from the center, from the left and right of the stage and also a camera above center and above left and right.  A fantastic presentation overall!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Holiday Inn: 75th Anniversary Edition” is presented with English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio.  The film features crystal clear dialogue and music through the front channels.

Subtitles are in English SDH, Francais and Espanol.

“Holiday Inn: The Broadway Musical” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and not only is the musical crystal clear but also the live audience as well.  The musical sounds fantastic in HD!

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Holiday Inn: 75th Anniversary Edition” comes with following special features:

  • A Couple of Song and Dance Men – (44:36) A documentary about Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire with film historian Ken Barnes and actress Julie Andrews.
  • All-Singing All-Dancing – (7:15) A featurette about how the singing and dancing was created for film before and for post-production.
  • Coloring a Classic – (8:51) A featurette about the coloring of “Holiday Inn” by Legend Film and the process and planning involved.
  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by film historian Ken Barnes including archive audio comments from Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby and John Scott Trotter
  • Theatrical Trailer

EXTRAS:

“Holiday Inn: 75th Anniversary Edition” comes with an UltraViolet Digital HD code and a Blu-ray disc of “Holiday Inn: The Broadway Musical”.


While Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire only made two films together, the pairing of these two actors was no doubt a major collaboration between the two men known for their music and dancing. But also showcasing the dancing and the vocals of Virginia Dale and Marjorie Reynolds.

But also a collaboration between director Mark Sandrich, know for directing many of the famous Astaire/Rogers films and with songwriter Irving Berlin.

And “Holiday Inn” has remained a a class holiday film known for popularizing the holiday song “White Christmas”, which was interesting because Berlin and Crosby didn’t think much about the song and would never expect the song to be an iconic Christmas song that would endure in popularity.

Receiving rave reviews from film critics, “Holiday Inn” would be one of the top grossing films of 1942 in the United States.

The films captures the wonderful music of Irving Berlin but also the wonderful vocal and dancing talent of Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire.  Both Virginia Dale and Marjorie Reynolds also gave a wonderful song/dance performance throughout the film.

As positive as I am with this film, I will have to mention that for those who are sensitive to films that showcase Caucasian talents in blackface, you may be offended by the “Abraham” minstrel musical number.

While Bing Crosby is seen in blackface, in the audio commentary, film historian Ken Barnes explains how Crosby was one of the few white performers who worked with African American artists despite the criticism he received and flack he got from studio heads.

There is no option to choose an edited version of the film, which many may have seen on television via AMC.  For cinema purists against any removal of scenes, it is important to note that the complete “Abraham” musical number is included on this Blu-ray release.

A big surprise with this 75th Anniversary release of “Holiday Inn” is the inclusion of the “Holiday Inn: The Broadway Musical”, a two hour fun-filled stage performance.  The musical opened on Broadway in 2016 and the storyline is a much different story than the original film and the “Abraham” minstrel performance and several songs omitted.

The storyline about Jim moving to Connecticut and Lila staying with Ted remains the same but focuses more on Jim’s time at the farm.  Also, the character of Linda Mason is an aspiring performer-turned-schoolteacher who had lived on the farm.  Both are attracted to each other but their relationship is awkward and Linda introduces Louise Badger (a farmhand who worked at the Mason Farm) to help Jim tend the farm.

But as Jim misses performing, he decides to turn his farm to an inn (only open on holidays) and he brings Linda and his friends to perform on New Year’s Eve.  But when Jim sees Ted dancing with Linda, he gets jealous and punches Ted in the face.  Which leads to a second act which I won’t spoil.

But seeing the energy from the play and the focus on character development of the musical, surprisingly, I found myself more entertained by the musical stage version than the original film.

Granted, I enjoyed both of them but the uplifting energy from the musical, plus the inclusion of other popular Irving Berlin films made me enjoy “Holiday Inn: The Broadway Musical” even more!

As for the Blu-ray release, the film is presented in 1080p High Definition black and white (1:331) and also features a new colorized version from Legend Films (known for colorizing many classic B&W films).  Picture quality is no doubt better in terms of clarity and sharpness compared to the older DVD.  And as for the colorization, I used to be a bit critical of the older colorization films from Legend Films but I have to say that with newer technology, the colorization of “Holiday Inn” is well-done.

The lossless audio is in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 and dialogue and music is crystal clear through the front channels.

The picture quality of “Holiday Inn: The Broadway Musical” is also wonderful and the camera work in capturing the stage version is well done!  And the lossless soundtrack in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is crystal clear!

And as for special features, you get a lengthy featurette about the Crosby/Astaire collaboration, an insightful featurette about the making of the dancing scenes and also a featurette about the making of the colorization for the film.  Also, an audio commentary is included.

Overall, “Holiday Inn: 75th Anniversary Edition” is a Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire and Irving Berlin classic.  Presented in its original B&W and also a colorized version, this is no doubt the best presentation of the film.  But even better is the inclusion of the wonderful “Holiday Inn: The Broadway Musical” on Blu-ray making this “Holiday Inn: 75th Anniversary Edition” worth owning!






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