CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY

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Post  Maestro on Tue 4 Dec 2007 - 12:32

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MOVIE INFORMATION:
Universal Studios – 1944
1 Hour, 32 Minutes
Black & White

MAIN CREDITS:
Producer…Felix Jackson
Director…Robert Siodmak
Screenplay…Herman Mankiewicz
Music…H.J. Salter

MAIN CHARACTERS:
Abigail Martin...Deanna Durbin
Robert Manette...Gene Kelly
Charlie Mason…Dean Harens
Simon Fenimore…Richard Whorf
Mrs. Manette…Gale Sondergaard
Valerie De Merode…Gladys George

MOVIE SYNOPSIS:
In late December, a group of soldiers are graduating from artillery school at Camp Davis, North Carolina. One of the soldiers, Charlie Mason is going to San Francisco to marry his fiancee. When he receives a telegram from her saying that she has married another man, he decides to go to San Francisco to confront her. Charlie's flight is forced to land in New Orleans due to bad weather and all the passengers are taken to a hotel to spend the night. While in the lobby, Charlie is asked by a reporter, Simon Fenimore about the emergency landing, but Charlie tells him nothing major had happened. Charlie goes to get something to eat and encounters a drunken Simon who takes him to a nightclub. The manger is Valerie De Merode and she asks the club's singer, Jackie Lamont (Abigail Martin) to keep Charlie company. While Abigail and Charlie are talking, Valerie hands him a card from Simon about a religious service at midnight. They both go to the service where Abigail sobs uncontrollably. After the service, Abigail confesses to Charlie that her name is not Jackie Lamont and that she has a husband named Robert Manette who is serving time in jail for murder. She recalls the morning after the murder that Robert and his mother were talking about there being nothing in the papers. When Abigail notices a stain on Robert’s trousers, Mrs. Manette immediately takes them away. She then removes a large sum of money from one of the pockets. Robert tells them both that the money came from gambling winnings. Afterwards, Mrs. Manette burns the trousers, but later tells Abigail that it was just an old dress. Then a police officer arrives at the door and asks Mrs. Manette to tell Robert to call the station. When Robert returns home that night, Abigail asks him what he and his mother are trying to hide from her which causes him to get very angry. The next morning Robert tells Abigail to use a cover-up story if anyone asks about the trousers and money. At that point, Charlie interrupts Abigail's story and suggests she stay the night at his hotel. The next morning, Abigail tells Charlie how she first met Robert at a classical concert. Robert tells her that he comes from a distinguished family and eventually introduces Abigail to his mother who takes an instant liking to her. Mrs. Manette tells Abigail that Robert has some bad traits, but together they can make him strong. Robert then takes Abigail to a gambler's joint to show that his past is now behind him. While there, he points out a bookmaker named Teddy Jordan and chats with Simon. Robert and Abigail get married and things are fine until the night of the murder. Two days after Mrs. Manette burns the trousers, the police arrest Robert for murder. Abigail tells Mrs. Manette that they both know that Robert is guilty, but Mrs. Manette accuses her of being a traitor and a failure as a wife. At the trial, Robert is found guilty and sent to Angola Prison. Afterwards, Mrs. Manette accuses Abigail of "killing" Robert and slaps her in the face. Mrs. Manette then moves to New York to work as a housekeeper. Abigail finishes her story and leaves Charlie at the hotel. Soon Charlie receives a phone call from Simon who is looking for Abigail. What Charlie doesn't know is that Robert has escaped from prison and is at that very moment with Simon. Robert thinks that Abigail has been unfaithful to him so he insists on seeing her. When Charlie discovers that Robert has escaped, he goes to the nightclub to find Abigail. Robert finally arrives and Abigail rushes into his arms, but he starts accusing her of being unfaithful. Abigail tells Robert of her undying love for him, but he doesn't believe her. Robert then pulls out a gun to shoot her, but a police officer shoots him first. Robert dies in Abigail's arms and now she no longer has to be consumed by her love for him.

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Post  Maestro on Mon 28 Jan 2008 - 11:43

Spring Will Be A little late This Year sung by Jackie Lamont (Deanna Durbin) at a nightclub in New Orleans was written by Frank Loesser.

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Post  Maestro on Mon 28 Jan 2008 - 12:00

Charlie Mason (Dean Harens) dances with Jackie at the nightclub.

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Post  Maestro on Mon 28 Jan 2008 - 13:50

Robert Manette (Gene Kelly) explains to Abigail and his mother (Gale Sondergaard) the reason why he broke his promise not to gamble.

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Post  Maestro on Mon 28 Jan 2008 - 14:14

Abigail is shocked by Robert's behaviour.

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Post  Maestro on Mon 28 Jan 2008 - 14:37

Jackie continues telling her sad story to Charlie.

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Post  Maestro on Sat 9 Feb 2008 - 7:54

Robert tells Abigail about the Manette Family.

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Post  Maestro on Tue 4 Mar 2008 - 8:48

After her marriage to Robert, Abigail sings Always written by Irving Berlin.

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Post  Maestro on Thu 10 Apr 2008 - 11:11

Detectives search the Manette home, but don't find the money thanks to Abigail.

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Post  Maestro on Thu 8 May 2008 - 12:43

Mrs. Manette blames Abigail for Robert going to jail and then slaps her.

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Post  Maestro on Thu 8 May 2008 - 12:48

Simon Fenimore (Richard Whorf) phones Charlie while being watched by Robert who has just escaped from prison.

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Post  Maestro on Thu 8 May 2008 - 13:20

Robert accuses Jackie of being unfaithful and he tries to murder her. But the police stop him by shooting him dead.

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Post  Maestro on Thu 16 Jul 2009 - 12:46

Jackie the torch singer dies with Robert and now Abigail is able to live again!!

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Post  Maestro on Thu 16 Jul 2009 - 12:48

MOVIE MISTAKES:

During the trial scene when the Judge reads out the guilty verdict, the shadow of the microphone boom can be seen on the Judge's chair.

The newspaper report of Robert Manette escaping from prison has his name misspelt "Mannette."

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Post  Maestro on Thu 16 Jul 2009 - 12:50

Deanna’s sister, Edith sat through the picture in horrified silence.

"Good heavens!!!" she exclaimed, "is that my little sister???"

Later Edith saw it again, and the second time, she admits, she enjoyed it tremendously because she looked at it from the standpoint of seeing a performance, not watching Deanna.

CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY Ch111


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Post  Maestro on Thu 16 Jul 2009 - 12:51

Deanna Durbin with Felix Jackson who produced CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY:

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CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY is Deanna's favourite movie of the 21 she made with Universal Studios. Many of Deanna's long time "protectors" were not happy when the producer Felix Jackson decided that Deanna should stop playing a sweet little girl and switch to dramatic roles such as "Jackie" - the nightclub hostess in Somerset Maugham's CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY. When they saw their "child" in a form fitting black satin dress and singing torch songs, you could hear their lamentations all the way to Catalina. When the still man, who had been with Deanna on her first picture, saw CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY, he groaned, "How could they do that to that poor child?" One of the wardrobe women who has sort of mothered her for years had tears running down her cheeks. "I don't like Deanna playing a bad girl," she said. Even her long term make-up man said threateningly, "They can't do this to our little girl." And her long serving sound man was so upset he swore out loud. There has always been an iron bound rule that no one, not even the director, would be allowed to swear on a Durbin set – not even if a projector fell on his foot. "My family didn't take it quite so hard," Deanna said with a laugh. "Mother is in Canada now and hasn't seen the picture as yet. But I had the studio run it one afternoon for my father. When the lights came on in the projection room I think I half expected him to get up and give me a good walloping. There was a long pause, and then Dad, who is very English, softly said, 'Well, it's certainly different, isn't it.' I then breathed a sigh of relief." The film is bound to cause much comment. You may agree with the critic who said, "It's a good picture, but it's not the way I want to see Durbin." Or the critic who said, "The Durbin doll will continue to pay dividends – she gives a performance to really cheer about." When Universal put Felix Jackson in charge of all the Durbin pictures two years ago, Jackson realized that Deanna just couldn't keep on playing the same Cinderella roles. Deanna had been a successful child star and it's almost a foregone conclusion that child stars don't make adult stars. But the transition can be made, and Jackson set about making it. He had read an amazing book written by Somerset Maugham called "Christmas Holiday" in 1938, when it first appeared, and he thought at the time what a good gutsy picture it would make for some dramatic star, but Durbin didn't cross his mind at the time. However, a few months ago he dragged out a script based on the book and gave it to Deanna to read. "I was scared to death to do it," said Deanna. "But I wanted to do it more than any picture I have ever made. I've done thirteen pictures the nine years I have been on the Universal lot, and I've always played a sweet young thing with no problems. The roles were so easy I just found myself walking through them. But CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY I knew would be a real test of my ability. When I heard that Gene Kelly had been signed I was even more excited because I felt that Gene was absolutely perfect for the script. I met him for the first time the day he came over to the studio to discuss the script with Felix Jackson and the director, Robert Siodmak." For Deanna's earlier movies she would never take her script home. She instead would read the day's scenes for 15 minutes under the studio hair dryer every morning. Then she would be ready for the camera. She strove for naturalness and preferred to let the director do all the coaching. But when she was preparing for CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY, Deanna said, "I'll probably take the script home every night and rehearse every scene five million different ways."


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Post  Maestro on Thu 16 Jul 2009 - 12:58

The scene showing Jackie and Charlie at the cathedral in New Orleans was the most difficult part of the movie for Deanna. The night before the shooting of that scene she didn't get any sleep at all because she wanted to make herself as tired as possible which would make it easier for her to cry. To keep herself awake, Deanna drank plenty of coffee and played loud music.

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Post  Maestro on Thu 16 Jul 2009 - 12:59

Gene Kelly clowning around with Deanna Durbin during a break in production:

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Post  Maestro on Thu 16 Jul 2009 - 13:02

Many fans were shocked to see Deanna's character wearing glasses!!

Deanna had the habit of reading a lot when she came home from working at the studio.

When her eyes were tired from the bright studio lights she would wear glasses when reading.

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Post  Maestro on Thu 16 Jul 2009 - 13:04

Deanna Durbin and Director Robert Siodmak look over the script:

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Post  Maestro on Thu 16 Jul 2009 - 13:05

Deanna Durbin and Director Robert Siodmak ready for action:

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Post  Maestro on Thu 16 Jul 2009 - 13:07

The filming of CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY:



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Post  Maestro on Thu 16 Jul 2009 - 13:08

MEMORABLE LINES:

Jackie says to Charlie about Simon, "He's been drinking himself into the gutter for a long time - they're running out of gutters!"

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Post  Maestro on Thu 16 Jul 2009 - 13:09

Deanna Durbin sharing her birthday cake with her parents and crew during production:

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Post  Maestro on Thu 16 Jul 2009 - 13:11

Deanna Durbin takes a nap in between shooting scenes:

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Post  Maestro on Thu 16 Jul 2009 - 13:12

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Post  Maestro on Thu 16 Jul 2009 - 13:13

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Post  Maestro on Sat 20 Nov 2010 - 7:19

Deanna Durbin and Gene Kelly on their way to lunch after a morning shoot:

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Post  Maestro on Sat 20 Nov 2010 - 7:20

Wagner's Liebestod (Love/Death) is the ideal theme music for CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY. It's played when Abigail first meets Robert at a concert and also when he is shot dead in the last scene. Notice the trance like look on both Abigail and Robert when they were at the concert listening so intently to Wagner's Liebestod. Abigail had a dreamy look, but Robert seemed to be in another world. Even when the music stopped, Robert didn't clap at all. Then came the first eye contact (the love glance) and then it was curtains!!

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Post  Maestro on Sat 18 Dec 2010 - 19:19

Promotional photo of Deanna Durbin and Gene Kelly:

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Post  Maestro on Sat 18 Dec 2010 - 19:23

Deanna Durbin preparing for a scene:

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Post  Maestro on Mon 14 Mar 2011 - 8:30

Deanna Durbin dancing with Dean Harens in real life after production:

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Post  Maestro on Fri 25 Mar 2011 - 13:06

MGM was making DRAGON SEED, a big production with Katharine Hepburn and Gene Kelly. But when they saw him in the Oriental make-up, everybody attending the rushes were laughing like crazy because it was so ridiculous. So they approached Universal to get the actor Turhan Bey who could play an Oriental. In order to get him, MGM loaned Gene Kelly over to Universal for CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY. After Gene Kelly passed away in 1996, his widow dedicated herself to keeping his legacy alive as a pioneer of dance and film. She said her husband hated CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY. He thought it was weird and he didn't like his part.

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Post  Maestro on Sun 27 Jan 2013 - 12:43

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Post  Maestro on Sun 27 Jan 2013 - 12:44

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Post  Maestro on Mon 17 Feb 2014 - 10:48

Great publicity photo of Deanna Durbin with Gene Kelly:

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Post  Maestro on Tue 17 Jan 2017 - 12:12

Deanna Durbin and Gene Kelly relaxing between scenes:

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Post  Maestro on Tue 17 Jan 2017 - 12:13

CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY was a substantial popular success! By the end of July 1944, the film had grossed $2,000,000, more than any other Durbin picture, and surpassed every other Universal release at that time!!

When Somerset Maugham saw the screen version of his best seller he wired Felix Jackson and said the following: "Just saw CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY and thought it was great. In fact, if I had known how good it was going to be I would have charged you twice as much!!"

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Post  Maestro on Tue 17 Jan 2017 - 12:15

ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATIONS:
Best Scoring Dramatic/Comedy Picture

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Post  Maestro on Thu 15 Aug 2019 - 1:42

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