“Holiday Inn” was a very popular film when released in 1942. The musical was written by Irving Berlin who featured in his film many stars of the decade. Actor-singer Bing Crosby stars as Jim Hardy and features his hit song “White Christmas.” Actor-dancer Fred Astaire stars as Ted Hanover who thrills the crowd with his astonishingly superior tap dancing. Jim is an easy-going man who wants to relax, away from the big-city life. Ted is all about show business, making himself popular, and at any expense.
Virginia Dale plays Lila Dixon, Jim and Ted’s former dance partner as well as fiancée. Marjorie Reynolds takes the role of Linda Mason, a former clerk in a flower shop turned song and dance performer.
The plot of the film is not hard to follow; it simply contains many twists and turns throughout. Jim, Ted, and Lila are famous song and dance performers in New York City in the 1930’s and 1940’s who perform together. In the beginning, Jim and Lila are engaged and ready to retire from the stage to relax on Jim’s newly bought farm in Midville, Connecticut. On the night of their last performance, Jim finds out that Lila is leaving him to marry Ted so as to continue dancing and singing. With all settled, Jim moves to his farm alone and comes up with a plan to make the place into an inn where performers would perform for an audience, but only on holidays. All that he needs to do is find a partner.
Danny Reid, Ted’s agent and friend, meets a young woman, Linda Mason, in a flower shop. He is bothered by her and, suspecting she has no talent, sends her to Holiday Inn to audition. When she gets to Jim’s farm she automatically gets the part and her first performance is on Christmas. At the New Year’s performance, Linda runs into and dances with the incredibly drunk Ted Hanover, whom Lila has just dumped for a Texas millionaire. Ted wants Linda for his new dance partner, but does not know what she looks like, so he and Danny spend several weeks trying to find her. All the while, Jim and Linda are engaged and Jim is trying to hide her from Ted. Finally, on Valentine’s Day, Danny and Ted succeed in finding Linda and offer her the job of being Ted’s dance partner.
Basically, what happens after that goes by very quickly. Linda gets mad at Jim because he does not trust her and ends up going with Ted to make a movie about Holiday Inn in Hollywood. Jim closes down the inn, then stays at home, depressed, until his maid, Mamie, tells him that he needs to go after Linda. So Jim travels to the studio in Hollywood to get Linda back and he succeeds, to Ted and Danny’s dismay. Everything ends up fine, however. Jim gets Linda back, Lila leaves her millions-owed millionaire and returns to Ted, and Holiday Inn is reopened.
The women and men in this movie are very fickle because of their excessive changing of partners. Clubs were open late into the night where song and dance entertained large crowds along with food and alcohol. The dancing was taken place to the beat of swing music and jazz and was very up-tempo. Women wore fur hats and fur coats. They wore dresses that revealed more skin than in the past. Men wore suits, ties, high pants, and loose-fitting shirts. Obviously, the film focuses on the rich, not the poor.