Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Lew Ayres
Directed by George Cukor
Black and white
Originally released 1938 Columbia Pictures
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 2006
96 minutes

Holiday, starring screen giants Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant, is now available on DVD. This is your classic late thirties and forties comedy that assumed the audience had a brain and did not have to have everything explained to it in crayon. Holiday is a subtle dramady or comedy of manners based more on text, character, and acting ability than situation and broad jokes dawn in crayon.

If Holiday does not immediately come to mind as a classic classic it is perhaps because you get the feeling at the beginning that you walked in the middle of the movie. Johnny Case (Cary Grant) proposed to Julia Seton (Doris Nolan) some ten days ago after a whirlwind romance and the movie opens when Case shows up at the Seton family home only to find out they are loaded, really loaded. The Nolan family itself is unaware at first the eldest daughter is going to get married. Case also meets younger daughter Linda (Katharine Hepburn) and she draws him out to reveal he wants to take life easy for now to figure out what life really is. Lew Ayres plays Ned, the alcoholic brother whose dreams have been dashed by his businessman father. It is immediately clear Johnny Case has more in common with wild easy-going Linda, though she is on the edge of a breakdown from being cooped in and smothered by her domineering father, than staid Julia. Holiday often veers more into drama because Linda, the center of the movie, is seriously looking for happiness.

The theatrical origins of Holiday are obvious but the adaptation by Donald Ogden Stewart of a Philip Barry play is clever enough to make it more cinematic than staged. The movie pokes a lot of fun at the very rich and makes the point ordinary people are much more interesting. This is especially obvious when Case’s friends the Potters show up and spend their time in the playroom with Linda instead of mingling with all the right people. They are also there to remind Cary Grant’s character who he is really.

This thirties classic on DVD certainly does not go where you might expect it to. Although Katharine Hepburn is pretty good in this, you can sometimes see why she was once box office poison.

Holiday on DVD features a pretty decent print that was obviously restored (this is most noticeable in the scene where Seton interviews Case for the son-in-law position), It is not crisp black and white wise but in pretty good shape. This is a very intelligent Cary Grant Katharine Hepburn vehicle that has pretty well survived the years.

Special features include an interesting seven minute documentary on Cary Grant at Columbia and some black and white shots.


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