Holiday Inn

Holiday Inn

DVD Rating: ****

Reviewed by: Claire Sawers

For those who really thought Annie had a point when she sang, "There's no business like show business", these special DVD extras, lasting almost 50 minutes, will definitely be of interest. Featuring unique footage of Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire's song and dance performances, as well as interviews, photographs and even personal letters, this is a genuinely interesting insight into the lives of two legendary performers.

Ava, Astaire's daughter, reminisces with Ken Barnes, a film producer, historian, colleague and obvious life-long fan of Crosby and Astaire. Although the format is clumsy and strained - Barnes pretends he is having an intimate chat with Ava about her father, although it is obviously an entirely scripted interview, with nothing too personal actually given away - the conversation remains fascinating.

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Ava recalls her father's introduction to the stage, as dance partner for his elder sister Adele. She reveals one or two nice little details about her "daddy", like the fact that the top hat that became one of his trademarks was actually just a way of making him the same height as his big sister in the early days of his career, as a five-year-old dancer.

She answers a few questions about his personal life, like whether he and Ginger really hated each other's guts, as some would have us believe, or why he chose to quit musicals at the peak of his career in the Fifties.

Besides colour footage of Crosby and Astaire performing A Couple Of Song And Dance Men, there is plenty of other material to keep musical lovers happy.

There are clips from Top Hat, Cheek To Cheek, Blue Skies and High Society, including the scene where Astaire dances with nine other images of himself, in what was, at the time, a ground breaking moment. Other stars pop up, too. There's Bob Hope, acting on screen with Crosby, Joan Crawford and Ginger Rogers, taking turns to dance with Astaire. There's singing from Frank Sinatra and Grace Kelly and even a trumpet performance from Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong.

Overall, a lovely, sparkling, high-kicking montage of great moments in musical history, with a good deal of facts on the filmmaking business and stars' lives, as well.

Reviewed on: 25 Nov 2003
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Holiday Inn packshot
Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire play rivals in love and try to outsing and outdance one another.
Amazon link

Product Code: 9028042

Region: 2

Ratio: 4:3

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1

Extras: Colour featurette of A Couple Of Song And Dance Men; Interview with Ava Astaire McKenzie, daughter of Fred; Audio commentary from film historian and producer, Ken Barnes; Archive footage of Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby; Trailer; Cast and crw profiles; Production notes from various Hollywood musicals


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