Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Christmas Holiday

1944, US, directed by Robert Siodmak

Watched as a small tribute to Deanna Durbin, who died last week, this is very much the atypical film in her roster. She made the picture specifically to give her a more adult image after the juvenile fare that made her name (and her studio's fortune) in the 1930s. Both Durbin and Gene Kelly are effective against type -- Kelly is even further away from his normal persona, and it's a clever casting choice, finding the dark side in the actor's charm. Still, the film is very much Robert Siodmak's: he's at play with atmospherics in locations as diverse as a brothel and a cathedral, and looks considerably more at home with the noirish inflections of this tale than with the Technicolor silliness of fare like Cobra Woman.

I'm fairly sure some enterprising blogger made the screen capture used above, but I can't figure out the original source as it has been used by numerous sites at this point. Apologies for perpetuating the theft... Durbin is in tears numerous times during the film -- carefully aestheticized tears at that, with one glorious shot in the cathedral where a single tear appears as a pinprick of light against Durbin's silhouetted form.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States