Holiday Inn

Here are a few things you probably don’t remember about the 1942 film Holiday Inn: One, Bing Crosby’s character has a nervous breakdown and spends some time in the loony bin. Two, Crosby performs a regrettable blackface bit. Three, Holiday Inn has a mother of a competition between Crosby and co-star Fred Astaire’s characters, supposedly friends, who repeatedly stab each other in the back and steal each other’s women. And one of the women in question plays it kinda loose. She bounces from Crosby to Astaire and back again, eventually leaving them both for a millionaire before she breezes through for another round with Astaire. (All of this was toned way down for a later film version, the -family-friendly White Christmas.)

Those dark undercurrents are overshadowed by some great song-and-dance performances. The music’s great, no doubt: There’s a definitive version of “White Christmas” by Crosby along with the lovely “Be Careful, It’s My Heart.” (That Irving Berlin guy certainly knew what he was doing.) And the dancing’s excellent. Astaire does an unforgettable routine with live firecrackers for partners as well as a drunken number that’s as good as it gets for movie musicals (the guy even falls down gracefully!).

This outdoor screening is part of the Silver Blades on the Silver Screen series at the Ice at Discovery Green. You can watch from the ice while you glide around or from ringside seats. 6 p.m. 1500 McKinney. For information, call 713-400-7336 or visit Free to $10.
Thu., Dec. 25, 6 p.m., 2008

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