Holiday (1930)

Genres - Comedy, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Comedy, Sophisticated Comedy  |   Run Time - 96 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Ann Harding and Robert Ames starred in the first screen adaptation of Philip Barry's play -- remade eight years later in a much more famous version with Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant, directed by George Cukor. This version is a little closer to the source, in terms of the nature of some of the characters, and has a charm all of its own, especially in the Oscar-nominated performance by Harding, an actress who deserves to be better remembered than she is. The supporting characters, especially Edward Everett Horton (who was also in the remake) as Nick Potter, are a little less "housebroken" than they were in the 1938 version, and the result is some edges and sparks that didn't show up in the Cukor version, for all of its virtues. On the down side, the movie was done in 1930, early in the sound era, and at times displays the somewhat static visual nature of most talkies from that period; and complicating matters, in terms of appreciating it today, is the fact that it hasn't been handed down to us in the best condition. Holiday reportedly only exists in the twenty-first century as an archival print at the Library of Congress, and if a showing in New York during the 1990's is any indication of what survives -- a dark, grainy print with somewhat shaky sound -- then this version of Holiday may only be appreciated by modern viewers in a historical context. But that's no fault of the people who made it, and if you can cut through a far less than perfect preservation, and the seams that show in most early talkies, the virtues are there for the viewer.