It’s hard to shoot down the movie that brought us the song, “White Christmas,” (talking about Holiday Inn), but it’s not thought of as a classic in the way White Christmas is. Both star Bing Crosby, both take place more or less around a hotel/inn, and both are full of music and a little dancing. If it wasn’t for Holiday Inn, there wouldn’t be a White Christmas movie, but White Christmas goes farther and leaves us with that warm, fuzzy feeling.
Holiday Inn revolves around Jim Hardy (Bing Crosby) wanting to leave show business for the “good life” where he doesn’t have to work much. He opens an inn which is only open on holidays and gets a pretty girl to perform there for him. When Ted Hanover (Fred Astaire) shows up, he wants the girl as his new dance partner, which would take her away from the inn and Jim, who loves her. It’s a bit stale, and has song and focuses too long on dance routines for holidays such as Abe Lincoln’s Birthday, Washington’s Birthday, Valentine’s Day, Independence Day. Though we think of it as a Christmas movie, there’s not a lot of Christmas in it.
White Christmas, on the other hand, takes place in the days leading up to Christmas. After WWII, song and dance act Wallace and Davis (Crosby and Danny Kaye) meet up with a sister act (Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen) who are on their way to Connecticut. When they arrive there, they find their old army sergeant struggling to make ends meet at an old ski lodge when it’s too warm for snow, so they decide to help out by moving the act out there. In the meantime, there’s music and dancing and a little romance. And then it starts to snow.
White Christmas gives us that feeling that only comes once a year whereas Holiday Inn seems more like a farce – trying to pack in as much singing and dancing without a whole lot of plot. Without the one, we wouldn’t have the other, but we don’t need both. Sorry, Holiday Inn, but I’m dreaming of a White Christmas.
Director of Holiday Inn: Mark Sandrich
Cast of Holiday Inn: Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Marjorie Reynolds
Director of White Christmas: Michael Curtis
Cast of White Christmas: Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, Vera-Ellen