Holiday (1938)

Is This Where the Club Meets?

Holiday is my favourite Cary Grant film and my favourite of Katharine Hepburn & Cary Grant’s partnership. Between this, Bringing Up Baby and The Philadelphia Story. It’s almost like having to choose my favourite child; yes all three are that good but ultimately Holiday is the most beloved of my offspring. I find Kate & Cary to be one of the five greatest instances of chemistry I’ve seen between an actor and actress (my other selections being Astaire & Rogers, Powell & Loy, Stewart & Sullivan and Fonda & Stanwyck), even preferring them to the longer running Tracy-Hepburn partnership. However the two of them aren’t actually romantically engaged throughout the film, with Grant preparing to be married a different woman. Yet the whole time I’m thinking to myself Kate & Cary are beyond perfect for each other; the coming together of two intellectuals. I don’t want to see him being involved with someone else.

I also feel Cary Grant has every looked more youthful than he does in Holiday and even gets a rare opportunity to show off his acrobatic skills, with Hepburn even getting in on the action. I’ll also take this opportunity to mention that man sure could wear clothes like no other. Katharine Hepburn had the opportunity in her career to play roles which reflected her real life personality as a non conformist odd ball, here playing just that; the black sheep in a wealth, business driven family. The discussions Kate & Cary engage on what their characters want to do with their lives are so deep and profound. The difficulty of finding their place in life, the obstacles of trying to live it and not wanting to miss out on an ever changing world full of ideologies and ideas, all while trying to get by with an optimistic attitude despite the imperfections in their life. It’s hard to take it all in on and decipher in a single viewing, which makes Holiday one of my most life affirming movies.

The scene in which Kate & Cary welcome in the new year in the playroom (also that playroom looks so much fun! You could almost set the entire movie in there) is one of the most powerful and harrowing moments I’ve seen in any film, with the sadness of spending New Years alone is something I can relate to. I do make it an aim during a future new year’s eve to watch Holiday with the film synchronized with real time so I can introduce the new year at the exact same time the character’s in the movie do so.

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