Holiday Inn 1942 Directed by Mark Sandrich. All Irving Berlin songs. Jim Hardy (Bing Crosby), Ted Hanover (Fred Astaire), and Lila Dixon (Virginia Dale), have an act together. Jim thinks Lila is going to Connecticut to marry and live with him. Instead, she chooses to continue in the business with Ted. Rejected, Jim goes alone and, in order to pay for upkeep, starts “Holiday Inn,” open only on national holidays. When agent Danny Reed (Walter Abel) gives florist/ aspiring entertainer Linda Mason (Marjorie Reynolds) Jim’s card to get her off his back, she goes to the Inn looking for a job. Jim hires her.
The Inn opens to a big crowd on New Year’s Eve. Lila has run off with a millionaire. Ted arrives blind drunk and serendipitously dances beautifully with Linda. When he wakes with a hangover, all he can remember about the woman he intends to make his new partner is what she looks like from the back going up stairs. Not wanting Linda to leave, Jim does everything he can to prevent the two from getting together holiday after holiday. Plans go awry. Academy Award for Best Song – “White Christmas” Rent on Amazon Prime.
Going My Way 1944 Directed by Leo McCarey. New young priest Father Charles “Chuck” O’Malley (Crosby), is assigned to take over St. Dominic’s Church in New York City from Father Fitzgibbon (Barry Fitzgerald). Their approach to parishioners couldn’t be more different causing immediate tension. A young woman ostensibly living in sin, the boys’ choir, and the sale of an original song play large parts in a story of positive change. Seven Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Actor.
AND The Bells of St. Mary’s 1945 Produced and directed by Leo McCarey. Father Chuck O’Malley (Crosby) is back, this time sent to the inner city St. Mary’s Parish to decide whether the dilapidated facility should be shut down. Sister Superior, Mary Benedict (Ingrid Bergman) hopes to convince a neighboring millionaire to save the school. Father O’Malley has more realistic ideas. Again, several parishioners have issues. When Sister Benedict gets ill… Rent on Netflix.
Here Comes the Groom 1951 Directed by Frank Capra. Musician/Foreign Correspondent Pete Garvey (Bing Crosby) volunteers at a Paris orphanage. When he dreams of Emmadel Jones (Jane Wyman), the fiance he abandoned in America, he resolves to adopt two children and take them home to create a family with her. Unfortunately, the government gives him only five days to marry in order to be allowed to keep the children. His “intended” is now engaged to her boss, wealthy Wilber Stanley (Franchot Tone).
Pete and the kids take up temporary residence in Wilber’s gate house and the two men secretly agree to compete for Emmadel. There’s lots of scheming and family around to interfere. At the last moment…Rent on Amazon Prime.
Little Boy Lost 1953 Based on the novel by Marghanita Laski. Directed by George Seaton. Following the war and his French wife’s death at the hands of Nazis, journalist Bill Wainwright (Bing Crosby) spent years looking for his son through agencies in both France and the U.S. Old friend Pierre Verdier (Claude Dauphin) has discovered new information that tracks a group of missing boys, all of whom were aided by a certain laundress, to an orphanage in a small village. Wainwright returns to France to follow through. There’s a boy of the right age at the facility.
Bill and a boy named Jean (for expedition’s sake) spend time, but nothing the man says or does stirs a memory in the child. Perhaps in Paris? Just when it seems as if he might be the real Jean…Still a decision about adoption looms and must be made. As Pierre says, “Before you can love the living, you’ve got to bury the dead.” “…Mr. Crosby manages to convey a strong sense of real emotional torment in a tragically wracked character… he serves as a credible buffer in a candidly heart-socking film.” I second that opinion. Bosley Crowther. Free on You Tube.
The Country Girl 1954 Based on Clifford Odets’ 1950 play. Academy Award Best Writing Adapted Screenplay. Directed by George Seaton. Taut and powerful. Director Bernie Dodd (William Holden) insists alcoholic, down-and-out actor Frank Elgin (Bing Crosby) be offered the lead in his next play despite objections from the producer. Frank’s wife Georgie (Grace Kelly – Academy Award Best Actress) props him up and keeps him clean for the comeback.
Unwilling to take any responsibility, the actor convinces his director that Georgie’s to blame for his drinking. As a result of this, despite his attraction to her, Bernie is horrible to the beleaguered woman. Frank comes through opening night, but nothing ends as it seems it might. Rent on Amazon Prime.
High Society 1956 Directed by Charles Walters. Musicalization of The Philadelphia Story by Philip Barry. Genial entertainment, though one misses Cary Grant. The wedding of Newport Socialite Tracy Samantha Lord (Grace Kelly) is crashed by Spy Magazine reporter Macaulay “Mike” Connor (Frank Sinatra) and his photographer Elizabeth “Liz” Imbrie (Celeste Holm). Spy’s editor has threatened the family with an article on Tracy’s father, Seth Lord (Sidney Blackmer), who’s been having an outside dalliance if the family doesn’t allow coverage of the exclusive event.
Everyone puts the bride on a pedestal except her father who, having been invited by his wife, has a word or two to say about Tracy’s holier than thou judgment. The event is also crashed by neighbor, ex-husband C.K. Dexter Haven (Bing Crosby, with the chance to exhibit jazz chops), who still loves her. Liz is sweet on Mike who’s falling for Tracy while Uncle Willie (Louis Calhern) pursues Liz. The pedestal teeters and crashes. Also with John Lund as Tracy’s social climbing fiancé, Margalo Gillmore as Mrs. Lord, and Louis Armstrong and his band as themselves. Kelly’s final role before becoming Princess of Monaco. Rent on Amazon Prime.
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