And a very pleasant good evening to everyone! I hope everyone is cozily ensconced with your combination “bunny slippers and tuxedo pjs’ accessorized with a glass of whatever you like that is bubbly and something yummy. Tonight’s topic?
Wherever this goes, but first on the table is “movies that feature New Year’s Eve.” My obvious choice (because I like to dance) is the above item, “Holiday Inn” from 1942 (which you could tell in any case not only because of the costuming but also from the hyper-patriotic Bing Crosby number with the military planes toward the end). Now, the studio actually got a two-fer out of their investment on this because a) they redid it in 1954 as “White Christmas” and got to use the musical number “White Christmas” again, b) they got to use Bing Crosby again, and c) they got to use the Holiday Inn set again (in “Holiday Inn” the set was Bing Crosby’s supper club in Connecticut; in “White Christmas”, the same set was the Pine Tree Inn set in Vermont, owned by Dean Jagger’s character).
Fred Astaire was the original first choice to partner with Bing Crosby in “White Christmas” but he’d ‘retired’ so they redid the role for Donald O’Conner, who had to withdraw due to illness. So they redid the role AGAIN for Danny Kaye. Now, in terms of creativity, “Holiday Inn” IMHO, has much more breadth (because they literally worked every holiday they could think of complete with animated calendars); it also is a creature of its time and includes such set-pieces as having the female co-star Marjorie Reynolds (she’s the woman dancing with Astaire in the above clip) dressed up in blackface for the special song for Lincoln’s birthday. In the case of the New Year’s Eve dance(which unfortunately, I can’t put the clip up of from youtube.com, but if you go there and search on ‘holiday inn drunk dance’ you will find it and it is a delightful example of Fred Astaire’s artistry), it is said that Astaire girded himself for the first take with 2 shots of bourbon and added a shot for every additional take. What you are seeing is the 7th and last take. Obviously no one took his blood alcohol levels at that point.
In terms of refreshments at Chez Siberia (we are not entertaining a crowd here; New Year’s Eve at our house consists of movies and lots and lots of food), we’ve got laid out: meatballs, artichoke dip, home make French bread, oven bbq chicken thighs, a fruit, veggie and cheese plate, and punch, with a Finger Lakes bubbly (we drink local) for the toast.
So – the floor is open. Your favorite New Year’s Eve movie? And ‘whatcha’ got to eat?