A 1942 Musical starring Fred Astaire
and Bing Crosby
, with music by Irving Berlin
. It was the origin of Bing's most famous song, White Christmas.
Jim Hardy (Crosby), Ted Hanover (Astaire) and Lila Dixon (Virginia Dale) form a musical act together in Manhattan. Jim wants to retire with Lila, to whom he is engaged, and live on a farm he's purchased in Connecticut. However, Lila loves Ted, and so Jim retires alone to his farm... or attempts to.
After nearly a year of attempting to run a farm, a nervous breakdown, and a brief stay at a sanitarium , Jim returns to Manhattan on Christmas Eve to see his old friends. He has what he thinks is a brilliant idea - he wants to convert the farm into an entertainment venue called Holiday Inn
, which will only be open on holidays. Ted and Danny Reed (Hanover's agent) scoff at the plan.
Danny stops at a flower shop in the airport, where he is recognized as an agent by Linda Mason (Marjorie Reynolds) who asks him for a job. He directs her to the Holiday Inn, and gives her a ticket to Ted and Lila's show. She goes, as does Jim, who pretends to be the owner of a big club. She, in turn, pretends to be a friend of Ted's and a celebrity. Ted and Lila come to the table after the performance, and Linda promptly flees.
The next morning, Linda arrives at the Holiday Inn, and she and Jim realize that both were fooling the other the previous evening. They sing "White Christmas" together.
On New Year's Eve, Holiday Inn finally opens to a packed house. Meanwhile, in Manhattan, Ted finds that Lila has left him for a Texas millionaire, and goes out to the Holiday Inn, thoroughly drunk. He dances with Linda, proceeds to bring down the house blind stinking drunk, and then promptly fall unconscious. Danny arrives at the Holiday Inn just as Ted is carried upstairs.
The next morning, Ted awakens at the Inn with a hangover and no memory of the previous night. Danny, however, is thrilled that Ted has found a new partner, but dismayed when neither he nor Ted can identify the girl. Jim, of course, knows Linda, but does not give any information away, as he fears that Ted will take Linda away from the inn.
Then comes Lincoln's Birthday. In an attempt to disguise Linda, Jim decides that all of the performers and musicians will perform in black face. Ted and Danny return, and attempt to find Linda, but their search proves fruitless. Jim sort-of proposes to Linda.
At the rehearsal for Valentine's Day, Jim sings "Be Careful, It's My Heart" to Linda, who begins dancing. Ted and Danny arrive, and Ted dances with Linda. The music abruptly halts as Jim sees Ted dancing with Linda. Danny suggests that Ted and Linda open their new act at the Inn, on Washington's Birthday. Jim dejectedly concedes.
Washington's Birthday arrives, and Ted and Linda dance in elaborate 18th century costumes and wigs. However, whenever they try to kiss, Jim changes the music from the period minuet to jazz.
On Independence Day, Ted and Danny have arranged for Hollywood representatives to be at the Inn to determine whether or not Ted and Linda are suitable for film. Jim, overhearing their plan, bribes the hired hand Gus (Irving Bacon) to ensure that Linda does not arrive at the Inn. Gus picks up Linda in the Inn's car, and drives it into a creek. Linda attempts to hitchhike back to the Inn, and is picked up by Lila. Lila, it seems, has left her Texas Millionaire after he turned out to owe millions rather than own then, and has been summoned to the inn by Jim to dance with Ted. Linda drives Lila's car into the same river where Gus is still stranded. At the inn, Ted improvises a solo dance with firecrackers. Linda arrives, is furious at Jim, and accepts Ted's offer to do motion pictures with him. The Hollywood representatives want to make the film about Holiday Inn; Jim reluctantly agrees.
At Thanksgiving, the inn is closed, and Jim is depressed. He plays his Thanksgiving song on the record player, and makes bitter self-deprecating jokes over the lyrics. His housekeeper Mamie (Louise Beavers) tells him to go to California and win back Linda.
In California, on Christmas Eve, Ted is prepared to elope with Linda after the night's shooting, which would complete the film. Jim runs into Ted and Danny, who realize what he is doing and attempt to lock him in a closet. It backfires, and Jim locks them in their dressing room. Jim walks around the set, which is a recreation of Holiday Inn. He leaves his pipe on the piano, and hides. Linda comes to the studio, and filming begins. She recognizes the pipe, and runs to Jim.
Finally, New Year's Eve at the Holiday Inn features a reprise of Jim, Ted, and Lila's old act, with Linda added in. Jim and Linda stay at the Inn, while Ted and Lila, reunited, go off to a life of showbiz.
Incidentally, the hotel chain "Holiday Inn" was named for this movie.
This Movie is the Trope Namer For:
- Blackface: In the Lincoln's Birthday number. Now often cut when the movie is shown on American TV due to Values Dissonance.
- Cameo: Irving Berlin appears as Linda's boss in the beginning of the film.
- Love Triangle: First, Ted and Jim are both in love with Lila, who is also in love with both of them. Then, Jim and Ted both love Linda, who loves Jim and likes Ted.
- Magical Negro: Jim's housekeeper Mamie.
- Method Acting: Fred Astaire was really drunk for the drunken dance: he took 2 shots before the first take, and a shot in between each. What ended up in the final film is something like the 7th take.
- Pimped-Out Dress: Linda gets to wear several.
- Pretty in Mink: Linda wears a mink coat and muff in part of the finale.
- Self Plagiarism: Irving Berlin recycled a few songs for the soundtrack (notably "Easter Parade," whose tune dates from 1914) in addition to writing new ones.
- Movie Within A Movie: They actually used the movie's sets as the movie within the movie's sets.
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story: In-universe. The movie Ted and Linda are making in Hollywood is loosely based on the story of Jim founding Holiday Inn. (Presumably Ted plays the Jim character.)
- What Did I Do Last Night?