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Film / Holiday

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Johnny Case: I've been working since I was ten. I want to find out why I'm working. The answer can't just be to pay bills, to pile up more money...
Linda Seton: Yes, but what is the answer?
Johnny Case: Well I don't know. That's what I intend to find out. ... I want to save part of my life for myself. There's a catch to it, though: it's got to be part of the young part you know, retire young, work old. Come back to work when I know what I'm working for. Does that make sense to you?
Linda Seton: That makes a lot of sense.

A 1938 Romantic Comedy directed by George Cukor, starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant. It is based on Philip Barry's 1928 play of the same name, which had previously been adapted to the screen in 1930. (Edward Everett Horton, who'd played Nick Potter in the earlier film, reprised his role in this one.)

Self-Made Man Johnny Case (Grant) has fallen in love with Julia Seton (Doris Nolan), not realizing that she belongs to one of the richest families in the U.S. When she brings him home with her, he is disconcerted to find that she lives in a mansion the size of the White House, that her brother Ned (Lew Ayres) is a drunk, and that her father (Henry Kolker) expects him to settle down and become a respectable businessman. Though still in love with Julia, Johnny finds that the member of the family he has the most rapport with is her elder sister Linda (Hepburn). She alone seems to understand his dream of taking a "holiday" (what today might be called a "gap year") to discover himself before he starts his career. As their friendship deepens, Johnny begins to wonder if his engagement to Julia has been a mistake, and Linda begins to care for him as more than a brother-in-law.

Interestingly, it was made by many of the same people behind The Philadelphia Story. Besides starring Hepburn and Grant, the movies also share a director, a playwright, and a screenwriter.

Not to be confused with the 2006 film The Holiday.

Contains examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming: Several characters mistake Nick and Susan's last name for "Porter" and Johnny's for "Chase".note 
    Nick: I thought our name was "Potter." I must be wrong.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: When Johnny meets Julia's father, he's polite but cold to him (especially when Johnny gives his Rags to Riches background). Then, as the two of them - along with Julia, Linda and Ned - are about to go to lunch, her father notices Johnny is wearing one of his ties (Johnny had gotten to the house early, and Julia insisted he change out of his bow tie). Johnny admits it, saying he and Ned thought it would bring him luck. Julia, Linda and Ned all burst into laughter behind them, and even Julia's father chuckles as he and Johnny walk to lunch.
  • The Alcoholic: Ned.
  • Ambiguously Gay: An argument could be made for Ned. He doesn't have a lot of stereotypically gay characteristics, but a bunch of little things (his distance from his father, his closeness to his sister, his depression, his ironic wit, his lack of overt interest in the opposite sex) might suggest that he is. Bear in mind that the film was made in 1938, so even if the filmmakers wanted him to come off as gay, they'd have to be subtle about it.
  • Anywhere but Their Lips: John kisses Linda on the cheek. Twice. Both times it looks like he wants to do something more, but Linda deflects him.
  • Be Yourself: Linda tries to protect John from having his dreams squashed by her family. She also feels that her father's meddling has prevented her and her brother Ned from pursuing their own dreams.
  • Betty and Veronica: Julia and Linda portray two completely opposite character types.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Linda is (overly?) protective of her younger siblings. It's implied that she's trying to fill the gap left by their mother.
  • Big Fancy House: With an elevator!
  • Black Sheep / White Sheep: Linda doesn't even try to fit in with the rest of her family.
  • Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends: At the end Julia proclaims that her love for Johnny has turned sour, which in turn frees Linda of any guilt to go after him herself.
  • The Confidant: Ned serves this function for Linda.
  • Dance of Romance: Linda and John share a dance on New Year's Eve. Bad idea.
  • Did I Mention It's Christmas?: The film actually begins on Christmas Day, but it's really not acknowledged save for a couple of carols sung during the church scene.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Linda considers doing this, and quizzes her brother at length about it. May also be the reason for Ned's alcoholism.
  • Dysfunctional Family: The Setons.
  • Everyone Can See It: Well, everyone who loves Linda can see it, at least. Except John.
  • Evil Brit: Seton Cram. As Linda's cousin, he's probably not meant to be British, but he has the accent for it.
  • Fish out of Water: John and later the Potters in the Seton house.
  • Fourth-Date Marriage: John and Julia have only known each other for ten days when they announce their engagement!
  • Gilligan Cut: After Mr. Seton gives his approval to Johnny and Julia's marriage, Linda begins describing her plans for a party to announce the engagement: "Just a few people, just Johnny's friends and Julia's. And up in the old playroom. No formalities, no white ties, no engraved invitations." Cut to a closeup of an engraved invitation.
  • Gosh Darn It to Heck!: Johnny creatively exclaims "Judas!" the first time he enters the Seton mansion.
  • Inconvenient Attraction: Linda for Johnny.
  • Insult Backfire: Linda takes no offence at being called childish by her father.
    Edward Seton: I still must confess that the talk of the two of you seems to me of the seventeen-year-old variety.
    Linda: I'm glad if it is! We're grand at seventeen; it's after that, that sickness sets in!
  • Jacob and Esau: Linda cherishes the memory of her late mother, while Julia ultimately seems to be closer to her father.
  • Last-Minute Hookup: John and Linda finally make their relationship official in a tacked-on scene at the end of the movie. The play actually ends with the earlier scene of Ned toasting his grandfather, leaving John and Linda as a Maybe Ever After couple.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Linda.
  • Love Confessor: Linda hides her feelings from both John and Julia, but confesses them to Ned.
  • Love Epiphany: Linda has a painful one on New Year's Eve.
  • Matchmaker Crush: Linda goes from really wanting John as a brother-in-law to just, well, wanting him!
  • Meaningful Echo: In a subtle example, Linda uses the phrase, "She asks me..." twice in reference to her feelings about John. Early in the film, Julia has asked if Linda likes him, and Linda uses the rhetorical device to affirm that she does. Much later, Julia asks Linda what it is to her if Julia's feelings for John have cooled. Of course, it's a great deal to Linda!
    Linda: You're relieved he's gone!
    Julia: Suppose I am?
    Linda: She asks me, suppose she is!
  • Missing Mom: Mrs Seton died some time after giving birth to Ned.
  • New Year Has Come
  • Parental Abandonment: Johnny's father died when he was a child and his mother when he was a teenager.
  • Parental Marriage Veto: Mr Seton has to "approve" the match before John and Julia can get married.
  • Rags to Riches: John's backstory, as he outlines to Julia's father. It involves him starting out broke, losing both his parents, and putting himself through Harvard.
    Johnny: Anything else, sir?
    Edward Seton: I beg your pardon?
    Linda: I should think you would.
  • Rich Bitch: The Crams.
  • Rich Boredom: Linda. Ned, too.
    Linda: Compared to the life I lead the last man in a chain gang thoroughly enjoys himself!
  • Romantic Comedy: Tends to get lumped in with the Screwball Comedies of the era, though it's really more of a comedy-drama.
  • Romantic False Lead: Julia, although she acts more to bring the heroes together than to keep them apart!
  • Running Gag: Addressing the Potters as "Porter".
    Nick: Let's change our name to 'Porter'; then they'll call us 'Potter'!
  • Self-Made Man: Johnny.
    • Linda and Julia's grandfather is also reported to have been this. His entrepreneurialism is contrasted favourably with his son's complacent snobbery.
  • Shout-Out to Shakespeare: Linda tells Johnny among the many things she tried, and failed, at doing was being an actress, and she starts to recite the "Out, out, damned spot" soliloquy before Johnny stops her.
  • Sibling Triangle: Between John, Julia, and Linda.
  • Spiritual Successor: The Philadelphia Story
  • Stepford Smiler: Laura Cram.
  • Talk About the Weather: In his first and last scenes with Johnny, Mr. Seton opens the conversation with, "We seem to be enjoying a peculiar absence of snow this winter."
  • This Is Going to Suck: Linda's reaction to realising she's fallen in love with her future brother-in-law is poignantly understated.
    Linda: I love the boy, Neddie!
    Ned: Thought so. Great, isn't it?
    Linda: Great.note 
  • Title Drop: The word "holiday" comes up a few times in the movie, but the significant instance is when Linda asks John what he recommends as a cure for ennui.
    John: I don't call what I've been doing 'living'.
    Linda: What do you recommend for yourself?
    John: A holiday.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Linda and Julia.
  • True Companions: Linda feels this way about the "Johnny, Julia, Nick, and Susan Club". She and Ned are honourary members. Julia ends up opting out.
  • Uptown Girl: Julia to Johnny. Her father has reservations about the marriage, but they manage to win him over.
  • Wham Line: After John and Julia's breakup.
    Linda: Never mind. He loves you. He'll be back.
    Julia: Be back? 'Be back' did you say? What do you think I am?
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Linda gets this from her brother at the end of the movie.
    Ned: Let me tell you something. You're twice as attractive as Julia ever thought of being. You've got twice the looks, twice the mind and ten times the quality.
  • Younger Child Wins: Averted in the movie but applies in the play. Originally, Linda was the younger sister, Julia the elder, but they're switched around in the film adaptation. Technically, neither is the youngest child; that honour goes to Ned.