1. Sam Juliano

    “The conventional is instantly jettisoned. We now enter a dark surreal world animated by suppressed taboos and violence contained within a strange subterranean universe. Siodmak proceeds to smash genre conventions by unleashing a wild expressionist ambience that has you appalled yet enthralled. Full of bizarre surprises like Gene Kelly as an homme-fatale!”

    Brilliant descriptive passage and on I can certainly put my own stamp of approval on after seeing the film just two weeks ago at the Film Forum as part of a Siodmak double feature with THE DARK MIRROR. While I can see why they opted to pair these two together (they both are similarly bizarre and have an underpinning of expressionist ambiance. But CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY goes much further in that direction, and I do agree that while I like PHANTOM LADY for a few reasons, the mise en scene there only hints at what we get in CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY. Some viewers remarked that they thought Kelly was “miscast,” but these are really the perceptions of those who are used to seeing the side of Kelly that defined his career. Part of the film’s perversity it to have Kelly go completely against type, and it sure keeps his character and his performance most interesting! Love the use of songs and music in the film as well. You frame it superbly when you note it’s a tale of entrapment, obsession and guilt, and that it bends genre conventions in a big way. The lighting, the deep-focus, all deliciously employed. Terrific review in every sense!

  2. Tony,

    Wow I think I would really like this film. I just might be the biggest melodrama fan out there so that doesn’t worry me a bit. I’m not normally a big Siodmak fan, but something about this one seems up my alley. Nice work here sir.

  3. Cigar Joe

    Gene Kelly and Deanna Durbin are cast way against type in this sad and dark melodrama. Kelly plays a charming killer, while Durbin, plays a clueless woman who loves him even knowing he’s a murderer. Its bleak and at times creepy with the visuals against its Christmas backdrop, the Christmas decorations keep reminding you of the holiday in the barracks and even in the whorehouse, there is an extended Midnight Mass church service sequence that causes Durbin to breakdown, a concert sequence, and a few musical numbers that highlight Durbin.

    Cinematography by Elwood Bredell whose Noir credentials include The Killers, Lady on A Train, The Phantom Lady, and The Unsuspected.

    Worth watching for its entertainment value I’ll give it a 6.5-7/10 Seeing Kelly against type is a mind-bender, Durbin has a little bit of baby fat and a bit too innocent looking for what it is suggested that she’s doing for “work”. Too bad it couldn’t be remade straight forwardly without the Hayes Code ridiculousness.

  4. david mills

    It shouldn’t be forgotten that Gene Kelly began his (stage) career in the early 40s playing a heel in “Pal Joey.”

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