I had already seen White Christmas, the partial remake of this original, named after the most famous song from its leading star, it was only right I should see the film the song came from, directed by Mark Sandrich (The Gay Divorce, Top Hat, Shall We Dance). Basically in New York City, Jim Hardy (Bing Crosby), Ted Hanover (Fred Astaire), and Lila Dixon (Virginia Dale) have a popular musical act, Jim prepares to give his last performance on Christmas Eve, before marrying Lily and retiring on a farm in Connecticut. But at the last minute, Lily decides she wants to continue performing, and she has fallen for Ted, she tells Jim she will stay on as Ted's dance partner, Jim is heartbroken but goes through with his plan. A year later, on Christmas Eve, Jim returns to New York, farm life has difficult, he plans to turn it into an entertainment venue, Holiday Inn, only opening on public holidays, Ted and his agent Danny Reed (Walter Abel) mock him, but wish him luck. At the airport flower shop, Danny is recognised by employee Linda Mason (Marjorie Reynolds) as a talent agent, she approaches him and begs him to get into show business, he suggests she go to Holiday Inn. After an evening encounter with Jim, where they both pretended to be different people, Linda arrives at Holiday Inn on the morning of Christmas Day, they realise they were both fooling each other, they take to each other immediately, Jim sings Linda his new song, "White Christmas". Holiday Inn opens to a packed house on New Year's Eve, Ted arrives drunk after Lila has left him for a Texas millionaire, he wanders aimlessly on the dance floor, he has a dance with Linda which brings down the house. The next morning, Ted remembers very little about the night before or about Linda, Jim says nothing about her and tries to hide her, afraid Ted will try to steal her from the inn. On Lincoln's Birthday (Feb 12), Ted and Danny return to Holiday Inn hoping to find Linda, Jim has all the performers, including Linda, disguised as minstrels to foil their search. Jim later asks Linda to stay between holidays, Linda assumes this is a proposal, Ted and Danny did not find Linda, but they plan to return to the inn on the next public holiday. During rehearsals for Valentine's Day, Jim presents Linda with a new song as a Valentine gift, as Jim is singing with his back turned, Ted enters and spots Linda, he has a romantic dance with her. Convinced she is the girl she remembers from New Year's Eve, Ted demands Jim provides a number for them to perform on the next holiday, Jim reluctantly agrees. On Washington's Birthday (Feb 22), Ted and Linda perform in elaborate 18th century period costumes, Jim constantly changes the tempo from minuet to jazz each time the couple attempt to kiss. Later Linda refuses Ted's invitation to be his new dance partner, she says she has promised to stay at the inn, and that she and Jim are getting married, Jim tries to convince Ted that this is true, but Ted is unconvinced, he tells Danny he will continue to pursue Linda. At Easter, romance continues to blossom between Jim and Linda, Ted is waiting for them when they return from church, he asks Jim to remain in his shows, Linda is charmed he hopes to find "true happiness" that she and Jim have, but Jim is suspicious. Jim's suspicions are confirmed on Independence Day when he overhears Ted and Danny talking about Hollywood representatives attending that night's show to determine if Ted and Linda can be in motion pictures. Desperate, Jim pays hired hand Gus (Irving Bacon) to do everything he can to stop Linda arriving at the inn, Gus drives the car into the creek attempting to delay her. Linda is picked up by Lila, who left the Texas millionaire, following tax problems, she is pretending to be a waitress, Lila talks about the Hollywood tryout and being Ted's partner, Linda assumes Jim has arranged for her to take Linda's place, so she directs Linda into the same river. Back at the inn, Ted is forced to perform a solo dance, Linda eventually arrives and finds that Ted improvising his solo dance has impressed the studio honchos, Linda accepts an offer to leave for Hollywood, Jim reluctantly agrees that the Hollywood producers can make a film about Holiday Inn. The inn is closed on Thanksgiving, Jim is depressed, he hardly touches his turkey dinner, and he is negative towards working on his recordings, his housekeeper Mamie (Louise Beavers) implores him to travel to California to win Linda back. Jim arrives at the studio on Christmas Eve, just as Ted is preparing to marry Linda, Jim confronts Ted in his dressing room, then locks him in it. Linda films the final scene for her, the set is a recreation of Holiday Inn, the director boasts to Jim that the recreation is most exact ever created for a motion picture. Jim leaves his pipe on the piano on the set, he hides nearby as Linda performs "White Christmas" on the piano, she falters, then Jim's voice joins her singing, Linda runs to Jim as the director yells "Cut!", Ted and Danny finally understand Jim's plan, but are too late to stop him. On Christmas Eve at Holiday's Inn, Ted and Lila have been reunited and are performing together, and Jim and Linda prepare to stay together and run the inn. Also starring Marek Windheim as François, James Bell as Dunbar, John Gallaudet as Parker, Shelby Bacon as Vanderbilt and Joan Arnold as Daphne. Crosby is charming and has a smooth voice, Astaire is likeable and has great rhythm, it is a simple love rivalry as both men fight for the affections of Dale. The film is filled with great song and dance routines crated by Irving Berlin, but of course the stand-out scene is the famous rendition by Crosby of "White Christmas", which is the biggest-selling song in the world, with over 50 million copies, overall the film is a nice enjoyable musical. Very good!