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Saturday, 4 August 2012

Christmas Holiday (1944) - Star of the month... Gene Kelly

'Christmas Holiday' is a 1944 film noir directed by Robert Siodmak and starring Deanna Durbin, Gene Kelly, Richard Whorf, Dean Harens, Gladys George, Gale Sondergaard,  David Bruce.

Written for the screen by Herman J. Mankiewicz and loosely based on the novel by W. Somerset Maugham.

After Charles Mason (played by Harens) learns his fiancee Mona has married another man, he meets Simon (played by Whorf). Simon introduces Charles to dance hall hostess Jackie Lamont (played by Durbin). Jackie confides in Charles, explaining her real name is Abigail Manette, and she is the wife of convicted murderer Robert Manette (played by Kelly). The film tells Abigail's story in flashback about her suspicions about her husband's secret, and her relationship with her mother in law. Shortly after Abigail finishes telling her story, Robert breaks out of prison, and is looking for Jackie, with a gun in his pocket.

Watch the trailer:

Musical program

Deanna Durbin sings 2 songs in this film: Frank Loesser's "Spring Will be a Little Late This Year" and Irving Berlin's "Always".

Song: "Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year" - Deanna Durbin

Song: "Always" - Deanna Durbin

Did you know...

  • This was Gene Kelly and Deanna Durbin's only film together
  • Deanna Durbin's first dramatic role

Bloopers & goofs...

  • CONTINUITY - The newspaper spells Robert's last name as "Mannette", however the end credits spell it as "Manette"

Award nominations

  • Academy Award nomination for Best Music Score

Closing remarks

'Christmas Holiday' is a dark yet intriguing Christmas noir. I like how both Gene Kelly & Deanna Durbin (traditionally musical comedy stars) are cast in very different roles unlike anything else in their careers. Durbin is quite the femme fatale, and it is a shame she didn't make anymore films like this. Some years later, Kelly would go on to play a similar style of role in 'The Black Hand' (1950). From the supporting cast, the great Gale Sondergaard is perfectly cast as Gene Kelly's devoted mother.
Overall, this is a great Christmas film, but is sadly not shown on TV as often as other Christmas films. Try to watch this rare gem if you ever have the chance.



  2. This DVD is available at these sites. Thanks