A delightful comedy with all the sophistication that Cukor could muster, the famous Barry play is enhanced by the fine talents of Hepburn and Grant. She's a rich socialite who wants to experience the newness of life high and low, to taste all the extraordinary pleasures and exult in them.
Her sister Nolan is engaged to Grant, an unlikely husband-to-be. He is the poor boy from the wrong side of the tracks, and Nolan's love for him includes an ambition to have him go into her father's bank and rise through the ranks. He wants nothing of the kind and refuses to conform to Nolan's
dictates. After some zany confrontations, they break it off, but before Grant can vanish forever, Hepburn, who has loved him and his independent ways from afar, declares her undying affection and admiration for his unconquered spirit. Grant is smooth as oil on glass, and Hepburn is spontaneous (or
appears to be), bursting with energy, hope, and no little wit. Her voice seems occasionally flat and metallic, probably because she must handle some lengthy speeches that are more wistful than forceful. This was Cukor's special kind of light humor film, a casual study of the wealthy so ironically
popular in the 1930s when most filmgoers were poor. Nolan is the epitome of the malaise of the rich which characterized these portrayals. Ayres is outstanding as the dissolute, heavily drinking brother who has condemned his class as worthless and has a fatalistic view of the world and his own
future, as is Horton. Wry humor pours from the script like a dry martini, the kind of quick wit without emotional resolution for which scriptwriter Stewart was famous.
Much of it seems sadly dated today, redeemed only by Grant's down-to-earth stance and Hepburn's incredible ebullience. Grant had nothing but praise for Hepburn after completing this comedy, and she needed the bolstering in 1938. The Independent Theatre Owners Association had recently given her her
walking papers, claiming that she was box office poison. Columbia's answer was this top flight production. Studio boss Harry Cohn had paid RKO about $80,000 for HOLIDAY, THE AWFUL TRUTH and some other scripts in 1936; RKO had made HOLIDAY in 1930 with Ann Harding, Robert Ames, and Mary Astor, but
it was an unsuccessful effort. Cohn originally wanted Irene Dunne to play the lead, but when he got Hepburn at Cukor's insistence, he backed her 100 percent. The film did not make money, so Cohn refused to put Hepburn into another Columbia film. (Even Hepburn's finest film for RKO, BRINGING UP
BABY  lost $365,000.) Stewart, however, became one of the actress' favorite writers; he would go on doing scripts for her, including THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (1940), KEEPER OF THE FLAME (1942) and WITHOUT LOVE (1945). HOLIDAY earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Interior Decoration.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: A delightful comedy with all the sophistication that Cukor could muster, the famous Barry play is enhanced by the fine talents of Hepburn and Grant. She's a rich socialite who wants to experience the newness of life high and low, to taste all the extraordi… (more)