Saturday, August 6, 2016

Holiday (1938)

Johnny Case (Cary Grant) and Julia Seton meet, fall in love, and decide to marry while on vacation. Then the movie begins and they get to know each other. Turns out Julia is rich. Like Seton family rich, and she has ideas of poor Johnny Case following in old dad’s footsteps in business. But Johnny is a bit of a non-conformist and wants to play things his own way. Sorda like Julia’s non-conformist sister (Katharine Hepburn).

I wrote recently that I had grown tired of Rom-Coms, and wanted to avoid them for a while. But Holiday was already on the DVR so I knew it would be watched at some point. Lucky for me, George Cukor did Rom-Coms better than most and Holiday is a winner.

This was the beginning of the “Katharine Hepburn is Box Office Poison” era that started with Bringing Up Baby earlier in the year, and studio execs were concerned. The studio boss wanted to preemptively take out an ad in Variety asking “What is wrong with Katharine Hepburn?” but she warned that people might tell him. The movie didn’t fare well financially, likely because Johnny wanting to be a vagabond didn’t play well during the depression.

Holiday is a delightful film mostly because how likable the characters are. Not just Cary and Kate, but also Kate’s brother and Johnny’s friends, the Potters. Johnny’s plan didn’t make much sense to me but that didn’t matter. I liked him, and his friends. And in a Rom-Com, that’s all we can hope for.
“Johnny, when two people love each other as much as you do, anything that keeps them apart must be wrong.”

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