Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Doris Nolan, Lew Ayres, Edward Everett Horton, Henry Kolker, Binnie Barnes, Jean Dixon, Henry Daniell
Written by: Sidney Buchman, Donald Ogden Stewart, based on a play by Philip Barry
Directed by: George Cukor
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 95
Date: 06/15/1938
IMDB

Holiday (1938)

4 Stars (out of 4)

New Year's Play

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This is my favorite George Cukor movie, and a perennial New Year's Eve classic. It's quite a bit more fine-tuned and delicate than other, more popular Cukor hits, and it offers a kind of anti-It's a Wonderful Life sentiment. In this one, the hero, Johnny Case (Cary Grant) wishes to drop out of society and go exploring -- a theme that would become more popular decades later -- and no family obligations will hold him back. Johnny wants to marry Julia Seton (Doris Nolan) but her rich family would rather he take a job before gallivanting off. Fortunately, her sister Linda (Katharine Hepburn) is a good deal more open-minded. A good chunk of the film takes place during a New Year's Eve party (in a playroom), at which Johnny slowly makes the transition from bad sister to good sister. Cukor ventures close to Lubitsch territory in his gentle balance of comedy and pathos. Lew Ayres turns in a terrific performance as the sisters' drunken brother, and the great fusspot Edward Everett Horton plays Johnny's best friend, a professor (with Jean Dixon as the professor's wife). Hepburn and Grant made Bringing Up Baby the same year and both films flopped.

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