October 04, 2005
Universal Distribution
Vocal Music, Vocal Pop, Christmas, Traditional Pop, American Popular Song, Holidays

Album Review

The British arm of the Universal label marked the 60th anniversary of the release of the film Holiday Inn in 1942 with this 2002 CD pairing the "soundtrack" (actually, studio) recordings associated with the film and those for the 1954 movie White Christmas, which is sometimes cited as a partial remake of the earlier picture. (Both films are buddy pictures featuring Bing Crosby; both concern a sort of inn-cum-nightclub in New England; both have song scores by Irving Berlin; and both boast the song "White Christmas.") Crosby pairs with Fred Astaire in Holiday Inn -- and with Danny Kaye in White Christmas -- and it is Crosby who dominates here, singing not only "White Christmas," but also memorable tunes including "Be Careful, It's My Heart" and "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep." (Reissue producer Ken Barnes has substituted the actual soundtrack recording of "Easter Parade" here because, as annotator Malcolm MacFarlane explains, Crosby had a cold when he made the studio recording used on previous releases of Holiday Inn.) The music from White Christmas differs from what movie fans heard in the theater not only in that the actual performances are different, but also in that the casting had changed. Rosemary Clooney, who co-starred, was contracted to a different record label and prohibited from appearing on the soundtrack album. So, Peggy Lee stepped in instead. (Also, Gloria Wood, who sang for Vera-Ellen in the film, was in turn replaced on the recording by Trudy Stevens.) Lee brings her own flair to songs like "Love You Didn't Do Right by Me," although her double-tracked version of the duet "Sisters" isn't a patch on the Clooney studio recording, on which she sang with her own sister, Betty Clooney. (The track is erroneously co-credited to Stevens on this reissue; in fact, Lee is singing with herself.) Not all of the music here is top-drawer Berlin, but of course some is, and with a cast led by Crosby and including Astaire, Kaye, and Lee, there are some excellent performances, too.
William Ruhlmann, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Happy Holiday
  2. White Christmas
  3. I'll Capture Your Heart
  4. You're Easy to Dance With
  5. Lazy
  6. Abraham
  7. Be Careful, It's My Heart
  8. I Can't Tell a Lie
  9. Easter Parade
  10. Song of Freedom
  11. I've Got Plenty to Be Thankful For
  12. Let's Start the New Year Right
  13. Medley: Blue Skies/I'd Rather See a Minstrel Show/Mandy [Medley]
  14. Sisters
  15. The Best Things While You're Dancing
  16. Snow
  17. Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep
  18. Choreography
  19. Love You Didn't Do Right by Me
  20. What Can You Do with a General?
  21. Medley: The Old Man/Gee, I Wish I Was Back in the Army [Medley]
  22. White Christmas (Finale)