VHS / DVD
RKO Radio Pictures
Produced: February 24-April 22, 1938
Premiere: June 15, 1938
Johnny Case, a terribly impractical young man, meets Julia Seton at Lake Placid and proposes to her. Later invited to her elegant New York mansion, he realizes that she is one of the Setons. At first, Julia appears to be his sort. However, when he outlines his plan about retiring young after making a bundle, and working again when he gets older, she balks. Julia's unconventional sister Linda vainly tries to pull the two together but, in so doing, falls hopelessly in love with Johnny herself. John finds a kindred soul in Linda for she not only understands him, but also has the courage to break away from her oppressively gilded existence to join him on his holiday.
Life - 1938
"By her performance as Linda, Katharine Hepburn seems highly likely to refute the argument of New York's Independent Theatre Owners Association, who claimed a month ago that her box-office appeal was pratically nil. Highly responsive to the cajolings of pudgy, moon-faced Cukor, she gives her liveliest performance since appearing in his Little Woman."
Dave Kehr - Chicago Reader
"George Cukor's masterful 1938 film of Philip Barry's play about a society girl (Katharine Hepburn) who falls for her sister's charming, eccentric fianc? (Cary Grant). The light comedy achieves perfection, but beneath it lies Cukor's serious concern for the ways in which we choose to live our lives. There are a thousand nonconformist comedies, but only one Holiday."
Tom Milne - Time Out
"Marvellous 'sophisticated comedy' about a prototype dropout (Grant in one of his best performances) who takes a rich upper class family by storm: arriving engaged to the conventionally snobbish younger daughter (Nolan), stirring up latent doubts and resentments through his carefree disregard for material proprieties and properties, he ends up by showing the yearningly dissatisfied elder sister (Hepburn) the way to a declaration of independence. Despite some very funny barbed dialogue, mostly centering on two clashing couples among the engagement party guests (one liberal, the other proto-Fascist), the film is less a satire on the rich than an acknowledgment that privilege has its drawbacks; it's key scene, accordingly, takes place in the nursery playroom, a place redolent of childhood hopes and dreams, which Hepburn and her unhappily alcoholic brother (Ayres) unconsciously use as a retreat from their unwelcome social obligations. Often underrated by comparison with The Philadelphia Story (both are based on plays by Philip Barry), but even better because its glitteringly polished surface is undermined by veins of real feeling, it is one of Cukor's best films."
Peter Rainer - nwi.com - Grant, Hepburn make Holiday fun - 2007
"Holiday, featuring Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn, is a prime example of why the star system reigned in Hollywood's golden age. Although the 1938 movie is based on a celebrated play by Philip Barry, these two actors could have spoken gibberish and still enthralled us. Grant plays Johnny Case, a free spirit who falls in love with Julia (Doris Nolan), a wealthy society girl. Her sister Linda (Hepburn), as rambunctious as Johnny, is clearly the right match for him, and the fun of the movie is in seeing how they eventually pair up. Grant and Hepburn have been branded as iconic for so long that we sometimes forget just how slaphappy these two could be. They brought out the goofy best in each other, not only in this film but also in the even more remarkable Bringing Up Baby released the same year. The Philadelphia Story (1940), also based on a Barry play, is a more sedate and less enjoyable affair even with its classic status. Holiday was made when it was still possible to imagine earning enough money to retire at a young age and then traveling the world. That's Johnny's dream - and his undoing. When Julia realizes he doesn't want to climb the corporate ladder her father has generously provided him, she sours on their engagement. It takes almost the entire movie before he and Linda realize they were made for each other. Silly duo - I wish the play, as adapted by Sidney Buchman and Donald Ogden Stewart and directed by George Cukor, had not taken so long to unite Johnny and Linda. The filmmakers' coy prolonging of the inevitable leaves us with fewer opportunities for Grant and Hepburn to be blissfully silly together. It's difficult to believe that Hepburn, at this pre- Philadelphia Story stage of her career, was considered box- office poison. What were the public and exhibitors thinking? Today, that poison can be savored for what it really is: nectar."
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