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Character's Name: Johnny Case
Release Date:  June 15, 1938
Director: George Cukor
Studio:  Columbia Picture
Running Time: 93 minutes

Cast: Katharine Hepburn (Linda Seton), Cary Grant (Johnny Case), Doris Nolan (Julia Seton), Lew Ayres (Ned Seton), Edward Everett Horton (Nick Potter), Henry Kolker (Edward Seton), Binnie Barnes (Laura Cram), Jean Dixon (Susan Potter), Henry Daniell (Seton Cram)

- by Zoë Shaw
Johnny takes time out from work to see the world around him. He gets engaged to Julia, who tries to make him conform. Her sister, Linda, falls in love with Johnny, but hides her feelings. After several family arguments, Julia and Johnny realize they should not get married. Linda and Johnny get it together...

- by Aileen Mackintosh
Johnny Case (Grant) is engaged to Julia Seton, a girl he met at Lake Placid ten days before. He arrives at the address Julia has given him and, on seeing the size of the house, decides she must be an employee. He enters through the servants' entrance only to discover that her family really does own the house! Having found Julia, her sister Linda (Hepburn) discovers them both in the lift.

Julia, Linda, their brother Ned and their father head off to church where Julia tells her father of her plans to marry Johnny - on the basis that he can't do much about it at church! Johnny is invited to lunch that day. Arriving back early, he is sent up to the playroom where he encounters Linda again and a much more cozy room than any of the rest of the house. Linda finds Johnny's outlook on life refreshing. He doesn't see money as the be-all-and-end-all and hopes that when he has made enough he'll take time out and enjoy life for a bit.

A huge party is arranged to announce the engagement on new year's eve, which upsets Linda as she had planned to have a small affair with a few close friends. Johnny finally realizes that Julia wants him to conform, and just as he is about to accept being tied down with responsibilities etc., he breaks it off. Linda awakes to the fact that she is in love with him and not Julia and follows him out the door with one of my favourite lines: "Someone stop me. Oh please someone try and stop me!"

This really is a must see, if only for Cary showing off the tumbling skills he learned with the Pender troupe! However Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant have a great chemistry together, also and it really shows. The scenes in the playroom are full of sparkling wit. Personally I LOVE it and it has to rate as one of my favourites. GO AND SEE THIS MOVIE!!!!!

VARIETY Film Review - May 18, 1938
- by "Flin"
- submitted by Barry Martin
Philip Barry's play, 'Holiday,' which in film form was a smash hit eight years ago in the depression's depth, rises to box office heights as a recession remake.  George Cukor has given it an up-to-the-moment directorial treatment, and the starring team of Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant provide attractive marquee persuasion.  Exhibitors will pencil in some extra days for this production to their own and Columbia's handsome profit. 

Theme of play seems more timely against the economic and social background of today than when previously filmed by Edward H Griffith with Ann Harding, Richard Ames and Mary Astor in the leads.  Doris Nolan, from Broadway legit, plays the sister role in the current production, and is a standout in a cast which includes Lew Ayres, Edward Everett Horton, Henry Kolker, Binnie Barnes, Jean Dixon and Henry Daniell.

Futility of riches is topic of 'Holiday,' and Donald Ogden Stewart and Sidney Buchman, who wrote the screen script, have tossed in a few well-directed and timely shots which bolster the Barry original.  Changes and interpolations are few, however, which would prove that 'Holiday' is a strong, vital play of American life and manners of the period.  It has fine sentiment, sound logic and a certain gaiety which fringes a serious problem.

Miss Hepburn, after a whirl at historical drama and a wild farce in her recent picture assignments, is back in her best form and type of role in 'Holiday,' which is modern drama.  her acting is delightful and shaded with fine feeling and understanding throughout.  Cary Grant, who has come through a series of frothy roles, plays this one straight.

Cukor brings out the best from all the players.  Lew Ayres is the despondent younger brother in the wealthy family who seeks some relief from the monotony of riches by resorting to strong liquor.  His final scenes are emotionally effective, although played with good deal of restraint.  Comedy by Horton and Miss Dixon is good, and Henry Kolker's portrait of the father is splendid.

'Holiday' is produced with so much spirit and spontaneity that the handicap of being a remake is unlikely to retard its popularity.  It is handsomely mounted and stamped with fine technical work throughout.  Possessing class and superlative entertainment qualities, it should move smoothly into the best first runs.  Flin. 

New York Times Film Review - June 24, 1938
- by Frank S. Nugent
- submitted by Barry Martin
Ten years after its Broadway presentation, eight years since Ann Harding was doing it for the screen, Philip Barry's "Holiday" came to life again yesterday at the Music Hall in a smooth, workmanlike and thoroughly entertaining film. A lot of water has spilled over the dam, and a lot more damns have been spilled, since 1928 when Mr. Barry first inspected the moneyed Setons of Wall Street and Fifth Avenue, but they remain an interesting tribe.

Donald Ogden Stewart and Sidney Buchman, who adapted the play for Columbia and Katharine Hepburn, have brought them up to date a little. Tycoon Edward Seton is smelling revolution in the air these days. Idealist Johnny Case, who wanted his holiday and so upset the Seton ménage, talks a bit (and a bit generally) about new ideas being abroad in the land, ideas which he wants to think over before resigning himself to a place in the Seton bank. Their modernization work has not gone too far, though, they still would have you believe that a place I the Seton bank is economically desirable.

So it remains Mr. Barry's play, slight perhaps as to story, but cleverly written and providing in its framework for a number of amiable characterizations. Columbia, like Nelson, has expected every man to do his duty and it has found more than a dutiful cast. Miss Hepburn - the "New Hepburn," according to the publicity copy - is very mannish in this one, deep-voiced, grammatically precise (she even remembers, in moments of stress, to say "this must be he") and is only a wee bit inclined to hysteria. We can't get over our feeling that her intensity is apt to grate on a man, even on so sanguinary a temperament as Cary Grant's Johnny Case.

Mr. Grant's Mr. Case is really the best role, although it is quite possible that neither Mr. Barry nor Columbia saw it that way. He - in case you have forgotten the story - is the terribly impractical young man who meets a Julia Seton at Lake Placid and only after the proposal discovers she is one of the Setons. Julia (who is nicely played, within the contradictions of the part, by Doris Nolan) seems to be a good sort at first, but it becomes apparent later that she is actually a fuddy-duddy and that sister Linda (Miss Hepburn) is the girl for Johnny. Anyway, Mr. Grant steals the show. He turns cartwheels for one thing, immaculately wears a patient, pained expression, and he tells the Setons where to go. It gives one a vicarious contempt for Fifth Avenue millions. Very comforting while it lasts.

All told, what with George Cukor's sense of directorial balance, good dialogue, the amusing supporting presence of Edward Everett Horton, Jean Dixon, Lew Ayres, Binnie Barnes and others, "Holiday" comes satisfactorily close to being one. In fact, it is, and a pleasant one, too.  

- by Kathy Fox

HOLIDAY is Cary Grant's third movie with Katharine Hepburn.  He previously starred with her in SYLVIA SCARLETT in 1936, BRINGING UP BABY, earlier in 1938, and was to make PHILADELPHIA STORY in 1940 with her.  Also this is one of the three movies in which George Cukor directed Grant and Hepburn, the above-mentioned, SYLVIA SCARLETT and PHILADELPHIA STORY, being the other two.  I enjoyed this film for numerous reasons.  I had seen it earlier this year during Cary's January birthday celebration-athon on TCM.  So I was not too familiar with it.  This is only one a few movies in which Cary is able to demonstrate his acrobatic ability, and he is quite fantastic.  This man has so many talents!!  Cary plays Johnny Case who meets and falls in love at Lake Placid with Julia Seaton, played by Doris Nolan.  Johnny is invited to her home, but Julia does not tell him that she is from such a wealthy family.  Johnny feels uncomfortable there, and then he meets Julia's sister, Linda, played by Katharine Hepburn.  All the wealth, Julia's father's high handedness, puts a strain of Julia's and Johnnie's relationship.  Of course, he is growing fond of Linda, and actually is with Linda on New Year's Eve, before his wedding engagement is announced to a great many people who have been invited to attend the engagement party.  Finally, Johnny decides that Julia is not for him, and leaves her to take a boat trip to Europe with his friends, the Potters.  When Linda finds out that Julia is actually relieved that Johnny is sailing to Europe without her and that Julia no longer loves him because they are worlds apart in their philosophies, Linda comes to the ship and meets Johnny.  That backward flip-flop at the end of the movie is so darling, Cary landing on his face, and Linda coming to kiss him.  I will watch this film again and again, because I want to learn more about it.  Hopefully you will do the same. 

LOS ANGELS TIMES Film Review - May 25, 1938
- by Edwin Schallert
- submitted by Renee Klish

Hepburn Portrayal Main Attraction in "Holiday"

Tyrannies of riches are both tossed and thrust aside by hero and heroine in "Holiday," revival of a pleasantly human document of the drama, which may be scanned anew at the R.K.O. Hisstrett and Hollywood Pantages theaters, where it is offered with much ballyhoo.  Apparently, too, the feature is going to meet with favor at these showhouses.  The attendance was of large proportions at the downtown theater and, for that matter, at the one on the boulevard, and the audiences responded particularly to the comedy.  

Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant, recently seen together in "Bringing Up Baby," find a far better milieu for their talents in this new production.  Doris Nolan is reintroduced as the mercenary sister of Miss Hepburn.  Lew Ayres wins a chance at a real role as the brother, while Henry Kolker is the pater-familias, who exerts a veritable plutocratic czardom over the lives of the household.


Then one views agreeable Edward Everett Horton in the part he played in the earlier screen version with Ann Harding, Robert Ames and Mary Astor, while Binnie Barnes, Jean Dixon and Henry Daniell fill other more prominent assignments.

This new interpretation of the Philip Barry play is perhaps essentially dated, but it offers a blending of comedy and the serious that hold appeal in spite of the passé attributes.  At the outset the humor of the film is more flip than really and genuinely gay, and frothiness is the main result achieved. 

Later there is a heartier quality of humor, especially in that scene where Grant is put on the grille by the father of his fiancée, and also in the episode that introduces Horton into the New Year's party.

Moving values there are to the portrayal of Miss Hepburn when she realizes the depth of her affection for the man (Grant) betrothed to Julia Seton (Miss Nolan) and knows that there is naught to be done about it until her sister relinquishes her hold on the chap.

Miss Hepburn is quite stunning in this phase of her work, more so than the lighter portions of the impersonation though at times that is also good.

Grant uses all the excellent and familiar comedy resources that he has brought to the recent parts he has played, and they still are for the most part undimmed.  Ayres is excellent indeed, and Kolker thoroughly convinces.

Miss Nolan sustains the requirements of the part she enacts, although she has still to find the ideal role for herself in the cinema.


George Cukor directed the picture, which evidences class, while Donald Ogden Stewart and Sidney Buchman were responsible for the screen play.

"Holiday" was last produced about eight years ago, one of the very popular films of its era.  Outside of the players already mentioned in this review Monroe Owsley undertook the part of Ned Seaton, assumed by Ayers.  Both Ames, the lead and Owsley have since passed on.  "Holiday" is the first picture for Katharine Hepburn away from R.K.O. and since then she has secured the abrogation of her contract with that studio.

LOS ANGELES TIMES Film Review - May 16, 1938
- by Philip K Scheuer
- submitted by Renee Klish

Barry's Play, "Holiday," Re-filmed

In 1930, Philip Barry's "Holiday" led the procession of sophisticated comedies - or comedies about sophisticates.  It was a fine and important play; its wisecracks had pincers which bit through the too, too solid flesh of the well-to-do.  The film made from it launched Ann Harding auspiciously.  Whether or not it is true what "they say" about Katharine Hepburn, the new "Holiday" relaunches her as a shining dramatic actress.  


The present version discards a good deal of the earlier "brittleness" (which a thousand follow-ups have worn thin, anyway.)  It is straight talkie drama and less of a motion picture than ever.  Cary Grant is Johnny Case, the poor boy who meets a rich girl (Doris Nolan) and finds himself up against forces which would "destroy" him.  For he would "retire young and work old;" have his holiday now, and it isn't in the cards.  Not, that is, until the rich girl's sister, Miss Hepburn, rallies to his support.

This is still effective theater.  It has been given a "class" (and class-conscious) production alive, sardonic direction by George Cukor.  The enemy is still "capitalism."  It is only a question if people today, hard-pressed for that contemptible thing called money, will go the whole way with Johnny Case as they did eight short years ago.  


Miss Hepburn, once understudy, I believe, in the stage play, performs intensely and well.  Her Linda is a little mad, of course; that's part of it.  Grant is excellent; repressed, for him, although he turns cartwheels on occasion.  Miss Nolan, Lew Ayres, Edward Horton, Jean Dixon and the others are very good, and Henry Kolker splendid as the tycoon.  Some of the tense "sotto-voces" come close to overstepping themselves, however; there is a limit to restraint.

There is a matter of opinion.

The same goes for the individual's acceptance of "Holiday's" argument in the cold, gray light of 1938.

THE WASHINGTON POST Film Review - November 26, 1937
- by M.H.
- submitted by Renee Klish

Hepburn and Grant Score Again in Costellar Roles of Hit

If anyone has had a word to say against Katharine Hepburn, now is the time to be a sport and retract.  In "Holiday," returned to the Met this week, she turns in even a finer and more moving performance than in "Morning Glory," the picture that made her a star.

"Holiday" is by way of being something of a classic in the cinema.  It was first made by Ann Harding and the late Robert Ames.  With due respect to the Harding beauty and ability, the Hepburn hangs it all over her in warmth and sensitivity of interpretation.  As for Cary Grant, he's good - but we still remember Robert Ames' idea of the part as smoother and more ingratiating.  But these are the thoughts of a long-time moviegoer.  Be sure they are just thoughts, not criticism of a rarely thought-provoking picture.

Not so often do a good story and its proper players meet as in "Holiday."  The theme is that of the girl reared and smothered in gold-plated surroundings.  She's a daisy propagated in a hot house.  Those of us poor people who have been privileged (?) to associate with some of the less perspective 18-karat population, know that it's better to live in a piano box on a vacant lot than in the more stupefying atmosphere of certain gilded homes.  This is the thought that made "Holiday" and gives Kathie Hepburn the chance (royally lived up to) of being a real and lovable star.


Reducing it to plot, "Holiday" is the tale of the Seton family of bankers and its latest scions, Hepburn, who can't find room to breath; her sister, Doris Nolan, a natural-born daughter of the family; the son, Lew Ayres, who takes refuge in alcohol; Cary Grant, who first falls in love with Doris, then finds that he truly loves the visionary Katharine.  There's nothing like the attraction of nuts for nuts.  For it turns out that Cary isn't really interested in making money just to get money - the dope just wants to get money enough to vacation until he makes up his mind about what he really wants to do.  This sacrilegious thought completely alienates his first true-love, Doris, and completely attracts Kathie, charming screw-ball that she is.  It ends, you know, with them both doing a happy hand-stand and with the prospect of children who will all turn out to be acrobats.

For sheer performance Hepburn is nothing short of grand.  Gone is the affectation, the chirping, the high school dramatics and comes a really human and lovely creature demanding sympathy and affection.  And there's no guess about Lew Ayres.  He has a tough part as the alcoholic young play-boy, brother of Kathie.  You'll like him, sober or squeegeed.  He belongs as a leading man.  Also to be praised are Doris Nolan and Henry Kolker as daughter and father of the Seton banking family.  They're nice people, too, of the sort that have granite in their souls, and naturally can't understand such folks and Kathie and Cary.

CHICAGO DAILY TRIBUNE Film Review - May 29, 1938
- by Mae Tinée
- submitted by Renee Klish

Hepburn Routs 'Has Been' Slur with 'Holiday'

Good Morning!

That sweet, canary bird replete, pussy cat smile to be observed on the faces of Columbia executives is quite likely inspired by Katharine Hepburn's work in "Holiday."  For it is her perfect answer to "independents" who, a short time ago, dared to class her as a "has been."

Never has Miss Hepburn given a more brilliant performance; never a more human one.  And if she has not beauty - what she has, puts ere pulchritude in the shade.  [I feel I'ves said that before - but it still goes.]

"Holiday" is the 1938 version of Philip Barry's fine play presented in 1930 by Pathe, with Ann Harding, Mary Astor, and the late Robert Ames and Monroe Owsley in the leads.  Both me, you may remember, died unexpectedly.  Mr. Ames in 1931 and Mr. Owsley in 1937. 

The former picture was one of the outstanding talkies of its day.  And the current "Holiday" is as noteworthy in an advanced period.

The story revolves around four young people who come to grips with the great god, gold.

Johnny Case is a young man who has the odd idea that he'd like to retire and enjoy life while he's young, and later, when his blood runs slower and colder, go to work - if work he must.  Julia is the daughter of Seton, a certain rich man who worships at the shrine of money . . . He wants it, and the success and position it spells for himself and his children.  Julia is entirely in accord with her father though she keeps mum about the fact when she agrees to marry Johnny.  Sister Linda is a raging anti-capitalist who looks at life a lot as Johnny does and has a hideous time adjusting herself to her surroundings.  Ned, the brother, would like to rebel but hasn't the stamina to stand on his own two feet.  So he drowns his repressed desires in drink and the dreams drink brings.

Into the "Grand Central Station" [quote Johnny], which is the Seton home, our hero finds himself a veritable storm center.  His love for his fiancée almost, but not quite, decides him to compromise for two years.  When he discovers that not two years, but a long future of knuckling down will be his if he gives an inch, well - thank heaven Linda is still in the picture!

"Holiday" has been cleverly brought up to the minute as to dialog, settings, and costumes, so that in no way does it seem dated, unless, perhaps, certain moneyed conditions depicted seem a bit incongruous in a day when only the government seems to have a superfluity of wealth to sling around.

Cary Grant is thoroughly at home, and most appealing as Johnny.  Doris Nolan gives a beautiful account of herself as Julia.  Lew Ayres is believable - and pitiful - as Ned.  Henry Kolker as Papa Croesus, Edward Everett Horton as Prof. Potter, friend of Johnny [he played the same part in the former film], Jean Dixon as his wife, and, indeed, everybody in the cast, give complete satisfaction.  Direction was smooth and intuitive.

SO - if shopping for a fine, sophisticated, laugh, tear, and thought begetting movie, make a note for yourselves to - 

See "Holiday" - SURE!

Click here to read Susanna's review of "Holiday"

Click here to read Jenny's Crackpot Reviews at the Cary Grant Shrine

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