1942 • 100 Minutes • 1.37:1 • United States
Principal Cast: Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Marjorie Reynolds, Virginia Dale, Walter Abel
Screenplay: Claude Binyon
Producer: Mark Sandrich
Music & Lyrics: Irving Berlin
Cinematography: David Abel
Awards & Honors
Winner: Best Music, Original Song - Irving Berlin for the song "White Christmas"
Nominee: Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture - Robert Emmett Dolan
Nominee: Best Writing, Original Story - Irving Berlin
American Film Institute
#5 - 100 Years... 100 Songs
The Essential Films
- Open holidays only? Say, how many of them are there?
- About 15. That gives me 350 days to kick around in!
- You would think of that!
The movie that gave birth to not just one of the most popular Christmas songs of all time, but one of the most popular songs EVER. More on that in a second. Bing Crosby was one of the most popular entertainers in his day, so Paramount Pictures gave him a huge budget to do a musical. What does he spend the money on? Hiring the legendary dance man Fred Astaire as his co-star and Irving Berlin as his song writer and they produce one of the most charming musicals ever made. The story follows song-and-dance entertainers Jim Hardy and Ted Hanover (Crosby and Astaire respectively) as they compete for the affections of the same girl. Jim has reason to be nervous as Ted has stolen one of his girls in the past. Jim quits show business to run a hotel that is only open on holidays and hires Linda Mason (Reynolds) as a performer. When Ted realizes that not only is Linda beautiful, but an amazing singer and dancer he schemes to once again steal a girl away from Jim. Crosby is always praised for his singing, but not enough for his comedic acting... and paired with Fred Astaire, the two have great comedic chemistry. All the songs for each holiday are fun (though you may want to skip the "Abraham" number because in 1942 doing a song in black face wasn't considered racially insensitive) but the show stealer is "White Christmas" which as I mentioned before became one of the biggest songs of all time. It's popularity was mostly due to the requests of soldiers fighting the war in Europe who desperately wanted to be reminded of home. This film was a reminder of the idealistic America that they were fighting for. This is perhaps Crosby's best film, and his collaboration with Fred Astaire delivered fantastic on screen chemistry. This is an essential holiday classic.