3 Stars

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Two years before stars Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant and director George Cukor would collaborate on The Philadelphia Story, they brought their timeless talents to this delectable slice of 1930s romantic-comedy perfection, the second film adaptation of a hit 1928 play by Philip Barry. Grant is at his charismatic best as the acrobatically inclined free spirit who, following a whirlwind engagement, literally tumbles into the lives of his fiancée’s aristocratic family—setting up a clash of values with her staid father while firing the rebellious imagination of her brash, black-sheep sister (Hepburn). With a sparkling surface and an undercurrent of melancholy, Holiday is an enchanting ode to nonconformists and pie-in-the-sky dreamers everywhere, as well as a thoughtful reflection on what it truly means to live well.

FILM INFO

  • George Cukor
  • United States
  • 1938
  • 95 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.37:1
  • English
  • Spine #1009

SPECIAL FEATURES

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Holiday (1930), a previous adaptation of Philip Barry’s play, directed by Edward H. Griffith
  • New conversation between filmmaker and distributor Michael Schlesinger and film critic Michael Sragow
  • Audio excerpts from an American Film Institute oral history with director George Cukor, recorded in 1970 and ’71
  • Costume gallery
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Dana Stevens

01-07-2020

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Robert Crawford

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Robert Crawford

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Thank you for supporting HTF when you preorder using the link below. If you are using an adblocker you will not see link.

 
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Matt Hough

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Tonight I pulled up my HD streaming version and watched the 1938 Holiday. While it looks good (and comes with a series of pre-title cards concerning the film's restoration), there is still damage along the edges here and there during the presentation. I'm assuming Criterion's version will go the extra mile to deal with these anomalies.
 

Will Krupp

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Tonight I pulled up my HD streaming version and watched the 1938 Holiday. While it looks good (and comes with a series of pre-title cards concerning the film's restoration), there is still damage along the edges here and there during the presentation. I'm assuming Criterion's version will go the extra mile to deal with these anomalies.
I only have the DVD that came in the Cary Grant set so I'm all in for the blu-ray. I wasn't even aware there was an HD streaming version so it'll definitely be a big treat no matter what. Thanks, Matt.

In addition to Hepburn and Grant, I have a particular affinity for 1930's character actress Jean Dixon (don't ask me why, I can't explain it) who plays Edward Everett Horton's wife. She made so few movies in her almost 90 years that it's always a treat to see her. In fact, this was actually her LAST Hollywood movie as she went back to the Broadway stage after this and lived until the early 1980's. I love the characters that she and Horton play and love that the movie also gives Horton a chance to play something other than the prissy comic relief (not that I mind when he does, he is brilliant at it, but I like seeing him as someone who knows what's going on for a change rather than the clueless foil.)
 
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Bert Greene

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I agree about Jean Dixon. She's always good and always grabs my attention. One of the reasons I've long been wanting to see "Mister Dynamite" (1935), in which she gets a solid leading-lady role. It's a tough one to run across, but everyone I've talked to who has seen it tells me it's a pretty nifty film.
 
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Robert Crawford

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Tonight I pulled up my HD streaming version and watched the 1938 Holiday. While it looks good (and comes with a series of pre-title cards concerning the film's restoration), there is still damage along the edges here and there during the presentation. I'm assuming Criterion's version will go the extra mile to deal with these anomalies.
New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
 

Robert Crawford

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I've only have the DVD that came in the Cary Grant set so I'm all in for the blu-ray. I wasn't even aware there was an HD streaming version so it'll definitely be a big treat no matter what. Thanks, Matt.

In addition to Hepburn and Grant, I have a particular affinity for 1930's character actress Jean Dixon (don't ask me why, I can't explain it) who plays Edward Everett Horton's wife. She made so few movies in her almost 90 years that it's always a treat to see her. In fact, this was actually her LAST Hollywood movie as she went back to the Broadway stage after this and lived until the early 1980's. I love the characters that she and Horton play and love that the movie also gives Horton a chance to play something other than the prissy comic relief (not that I mind when he does, he is brilliant at it, but I like seeing him as someone who knows what's going on for a change rather than the clueless foil.)
The HD stream on iTunes hasn't dropped at $12.99. It did drop to $6.99 on Vudu which is when I bought it last December.
 

Will Krupp

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Edward Everett Horton played Nick Potter in both the 1930 and 1938 versions of "Holiday", Hedda Hopper played Susan Potter, Jean Dixon's role in the 1930 version.
Hedda Hopper was, by all accounts, a terrible person, but she's another one who's onscreen presence I've always liked and enjoyed.
 

bujaki

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I had posted my preference for the 1930 Holiday on the deleted thread. I am fortunate to have seen both versions in 35mm prints (the 1930 version twice at MoMA). Cukor is a more accomplished director than Griffith. Ann Harding and Mary Astor are (imo) superior to their counterparts in the remake. Horton is Horton in both; Dixon is a better actress than Hopper. I like Robert Ames, but maybe Grant is better as Johnny; I'd have to view them side be side to make up my mind. It's been many years since I saw both versions. The only performance that I view as absolutely superior to the original is that of Lew Ayres as Ned. He plumbs the tragic depths of despair in Ned's character in a way that Owsley doesn't. (Owsley was in the original Broadway production.)
But Harding and Astor have it over Hepburn and Nolan, and it's their conflict over Johnny's philosophy that makes the play. And yes, Holiday is a better play than The Philadelphia Story, and Hepburn is so good in TPS because it was written for her. BTW, Hepburn was the understudy for Hope Williams (Linda) in the original Broadway production of Holiday.
 

Garysb

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As I mentioned in the original thread, this play was extremely important to Hepburn who stated in the 1970's that she could still quote Linda's dialogue from "Holiday".

On another topic there were scenes filmed where Johnny and Julia meet in Lake Placid in the 1938 version that were cut before release.

The play was adapted into an unsuccessful Broadway musical called "Happy New Year" using existing Cole Porter music.
 

Will Krupp

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The play was adapted into an unsuccessful Broadway musical called "Happy New Year" using existing Cole Porter music.
According to IBDB, it had 27 previews and 25 performances in April/May 1980. That's a yikes! Looks as though they really really tried to make it work.

Interestingly, Linda was played by actress Leslie Denniston (who, daytime soap fans may remember, played the character of Maeve Stoddard for awhile on GUIDING LIGHT and is the longtime wife of Don "Bob Hughes" Hastings of AS THE WORLD TURNS) and the narrator of the show was none other than John McMartin.
 

Garysb

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I saw the Broadway musical. The narrator was revealed to be the present day (1980) Johnny Case.