HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Halloween Kills
Cicada
Sun Shines Bright, The
Last Thing Mary Saw, The
Comets
Herself
Mon Oncle d'Amerique
Wild Strawberries
Runner, The
Don't Look Up
Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Eternals
Forever Purge, The
Memoria
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Legend of La Llorona, The
Japon
Glasshouse
Perdita Durango
Commando, The
Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror
Boiling Point
Malignant
Deadly Games
Ailey
Voyeurs, The
Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes
In the Earth
Hiroshima Mon Amour
Hotel Poseidon
Zola
No Time to Die
Klaus
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Candyman
Power of the Dog, The
StageFright
Voyage of Time: An IMAX Documentary
Suicide Squad, The
One Night in Miami...
   
 
Newest Articles
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
   
 
  Christmas Holiday A Marriage Made In Hell
Year: 1944
Director: Robert Siodmak
Stars: Deanna Durbin, Gene Kelly, Richard Whorf, Dean Harens, Gladys George, Gale Sondergaard, David Bruce
Genre: Drama, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: It is approaching Christmas, and Lieutenant Charles Mason (Dean Harens) is preparing to go on leave for San Francisco when he receives an unwelcome telegram from his fiancée. It informs him she has left him and married another man while he has been away, and he is devastated but filled with a resolve to go to San Francisco and confront her. However, the flight he takes is grounded along the way due to bad weather and he lands in New Orleans, having to stay at a hotel for the night. A newspaperman, Fenimore (Richard Whorf) persuades him to go to a local night spot, where he meets singer and hostess Jackie (Deanna Durbin), who has a story of her own...

In the list of un-Christmassy Christmas movies, this one must be near the top. There's no good cheer to be enjoyed in this relentlessly glum, film noirish melodrama from director Robert Siodmak, on his way to becoming an old hand at this kind of thing. It was based on W. Somerset Maugham's novel, adapted by Herman J. Mankiewicz, and proved an unlikely vehicle for that creature of sweetness and light Durbin: the title may sound appropriate for her, but her fans were not prepared for something so dour, and so lacking in musical numbers for that matter.

There is music in the film, as if Siodmak was uncertain of how much a Durbin film could do without it, but the star only sings a couple of songs, one of them, "Always", twice. Otherwise there's a cathedral service Charles takes Jackie to, only for her to break down in sobs during the hymns, and a concert we see in flashback. Flashbacks take up a lot of the running time as Jackie reveals her true name is Abigail and fills Charles in on her past life, a life which includes marrying a murderer.

The husband, Robert, is played by Gene Kelly in what could be described as an untypical role, explained by its early stage in his career. I'd like to say that his aggressively easygoing, ordinary Joe persona is intriguingly warped by such a casting decision, but the truth is that he is miscast as the psychopath who is, as is customary with many of his big screen kind, too attached to his mother (Gale Sondergaard), who herself knows the depths he is capable of sinking to. In these early flashbacks we see the Durbin we recognise from her other films, the happy go lucky girl, but she doesn't last long in all this gloom.

Fair enough, there's a need for the story to be so depressing, but with only the music providing any emotion, light or not, Christmas Holiday becomes a real slog to get through. Its cult resides in seeing the usually sunny stars in such a dark work, but with no surprises in the script - the imprisoned Robert escapes in the final reel to track Abigail down, naturally - dullness creeps over the drama. In the original novel Durbin's character had taken to prostitution, but there are only hints here that this is the path she has chosen, and her shame stems from marrying Robert more than anything else - but she still loves him, despite his murderous ways. It's a strange and awkward film, but not curious enough to satisfy. Music by Hans J. Salter.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 7737 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: