Jan. 7, 2011
7. Christmas Holiday (1944)
Starring Deanna Durbin, Gene Kelly, Richard Whorf, Dean Harens, Gladys George, Gale Sondergaard
Directed by Richard Siodmak
Loosely based on the novel by W. Somerset Maugham
Written for the screen by Herman J. Mankiewicz
Plot: Two strangers meet unexpectedly, each separately trying to deal with previous rocky relationships. (That’s not a very good synopsis, though.)
I knew going in that this wasn’t a normal Deanna Durbin movie and I was fine with that. I knew that it was a dark film noir—and it is. I can only imagine how surprised audiences whodidn’t know that would be, however. The two leads (Deanna Durbin and Gene Kelly) play very much against type from their usual frothy musical fare. This is a film about love, obsession, and moving on. That’s all fine, but I just never felt invested in any of the characters. Dean Harens was especially dull and uninteresting. The plot was very simple and a great deal of the movie is told in flashbacks—which I usually don’t mind, but here it’s mostly stuff the audience already knows. It’s not that this is a painfully bad movie, it’s just not anything special (at least in my opinion). I also found the ending to be just a little over-dramatic. Oh, and despite the title, this isn’t really a Christmas movie—unless you like watching film noirs about crime and murder at Christmas time.