08 August 2012

Film: Holiday (1938)

Thoughts: Holiday proves once more how masterful a comedian Cary Grant truly was. An effervescent delight, I truly enjoyed Holiday on a number of levels, and yet again I am left wishing that more people would realize how timeless some of the classics truly are, even if they are in black and white.

I've never been much of a fan of Katherine Hepburn, but I enjoyed her turn here as the only lady who can keep up with Cary Grant's flighty Johnny Case. The film tackles issues of class self-importance in a very fun way, allowing us regular folk to bask in the insanity of the rich and famous, from the point of view of a man who chooses to be at the bottom and loving it.

The script holds up amazingly well, just like most films from this particular era, moving with a pace only matched by Grant's unbridled enthusiasm and amazing body control. Seriously, the man is a comic genius, both in word and in form. He flips and tumbles, and breaks lines like he was riffing in front of the camera. Sure, the film gets fairly serious towards the end, but it is well earned, and you truly care for the characters and their various situations. It's just unfortunate that a few characters- namely the antagonists- get the short shrift in terms of a slight one-noting of their personalities. But it's mostly a minor quibble.

The direction is solid, and evokes each scene well; from the opening sequence inside the palatial mansion, making the viewer feel just as tiny and lost as poor, unassuming Johnny. And during the brilliant, flowing dialogue exchanges between up to 6 people at once, director George Cukor knows how to keep up, keeping everything in check at all times.

I'd still personally say that Charade is my favourite Cary Grant vehicle, but Holiday is definitely one that will stand nearby, alongside The Philadelphia Story, and more than likely just above Bringing Up Baby.


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