Christmas Holiday

Scripted by Herman Mankiewicz from Somerset Maugham's novel about a young woman whose illusions come a cropper when she realises that the wealthy charmer she married is a mother-fixated wastrel, this might have been one of Siodmak's best and blackest noirs had Deanna Durbin not baulked at portraying a prostitute. Opting for compromise, she appears as a New Orleans nightclub hostess, which makes rather a nonsense of the second half of the plot when the husband, jailed for murder, escapes with the intention of killing her because of 'what she has become'. It also undermines the sense of guilty responsibility for his fate which underlies her claim, as he offers to kill her, that she deliberately hit bottom so that she too should have her prison. A fascinating film nevertheless, tainted with a brooding sense of malaise, and with fine performances from Kelly and Sondergaard which dovetail the suppressed hints of homosexuality and incest.

Release details

Duration: 93 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Robert Siodmak
Screenwriter: Herman J Mankiewicz
Cast: Gene Kelly
Deanna Durbin
Dean Harens
Richard Whorf
Gale Sondergaard
David Bruce
Gladys George
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