Next up, we have the third Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant movie, that 1938 classic Holiday!
Coming Up Shorts! with… Popeye Meets Hercules (1948)
(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of Popeye The Sailor: The 1940s Volume 3 from Warner Archive Collection)
Disclaimer: On the disc case, it is noted that the set is intended for the adult collector, which is because these shorts were made at a time when a lot of racist and sexist stereotypes were prevalent. All I’m trying to say is, parents, be careful about just sticking these on for your kids.
(Length: 7 minutes)
In ancient Greece, Popeye takes on Hercules in the first Olympics. While it’s still typical Popeye vs. Bluto as they fight over Olive and try to one-up each other, this one was still fun. A lot of fun with then-modern gags being transported to ancient Greece. I can still see the formula getting tired, but I still enjoyed watching this one just the same!
And Now For The Main Feature…
After going on a holiday to Lake Placid, Johnny Case (Cary Grant) comes home engaged to Julia Seton (Doris Nolan). He is surprised to find out she is an heiress, the daughter of a rich banker. Her sister, Linda Seton (Katharine Hepburn) takes to him, and blesses the marriage, with her brother Ned Seton (Lew Ayres) being indifferent. However, her banker father Edward Seton (Henry Kolker) is wary, and looks into Johnny’s prospects. Linda wants to give them a small party to celebrate their engagement on New Year’s Eve, but Edward decides to give a big party for all his society friends. Linda opts not to come to the party, instead staying in the playroom. There, she entertains Nick (Edward Everett Horton) and Susan Potter (Jean Dixon), along with Johnny, who tells her of his dream to quit work and go on a holiday while he tries to figure life out and enjoy it before returning to work when his money runs out. When Edward and Julia come up, Johnny tells them his dream, except they are both disturbed by it, resulting in Johnny leaving. With Linda developing feelings for Johnny while still trying to support her sister, what will come of all this?
While this may have been the second time this story was filmed, it’s origins certainly go back a bit further. Nearly ten years earlier, during the Philip Barry play’s original run, Katharine Hepburn was the understudy for the role of Linda Seton. Only once did she get a chance to actually perform in place of actress Hope Williams, and Katharine’s performance was a disaster, as she mainly mimicked how Hope Williams had been performing it. Still Katharine used part of her lines when auditioning for what would be her first movie, A Bill Of Divorcement, with George Cukor directing. After that success, Katharine was under contract to RKO, but soon became labeled as box office poison. In 1938, Columbia Pictures planned a remake of Holiday, with George Cukor directing. They wanted Cary Grant to star, but the studio hoped to reteam him with Irene Dunne after the success of the previous year’s The Awful Truth. However, George Cukor wanted Katharine Hepburn. Still under contract to RKO, who had plans to star her in the B-movie Mother Carey’s Chickens, Katharine was able to buy her way out of her contract, and go to Columbia to do Holiday. The film didn’t end up being successful enough to remove the “box office poison” label, though, so she went back to the stage, where she would star, to great acclaim, in ANOTHER Philip Barry play, The Phildaelphia Story (and do the film version for MGM, reviving her career).
For me, this is a fun film, made very much so by its wonderful cast! Cary Grant just works so well as Johnny Case, especially throwing in his acrobatic abilities as a method for the character to put his troubles behind him. Katharine Hepburn is fun as the older sister Linda, who is trying to rebel against her father’s wishes while still caring for her siblings. Only problem with the two is that, once you see they are both in the movie, whether or not you’ve seen it before, you know they’re going to end up together (but I’m not complaining). And Edward Everett Horton is, well, Edward Everett Horton, which makes this movie worth it for him alone! A very fun film, and my second favorite of the four films that teamed up Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn, only behind Bringing Up Baby (to be fair, I still haven’t seen all four, but I can’t imagine their first film together, Sylvia Scarlet, changing my mind)! Holiday is certainly one movie I would very much recommend!
This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Criterion Collection. The new restoration included on this release is fantastic! For the picture quality alone, this set is well worth it, and I can’t even begin to recommend it enough!
Film Length: 1 hour, 36 minutes
My Rating: 10/10
*ranked #9 in Top 10 Disc Releases Of 2020
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