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Screen legends Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant made four films together and every one of them was a gem, especially BRINGING UP BABY and THE PHILADELPHIA STORY, not to mention the offbeat SYLVIA SCARLETT (sadly absent from DVD). This, of course, brings us to HOLIDAY ($25), which finds Hepburn and Grant at their frothy best under George Cukor’s assured direction. Based upon the Philip Barry play, which mixes bits of screwball comedy with melodrama, HOLIDAY tells the story of Johnny Case (Grant), who has become engaged to Julia Seton (Doris Nolan) after a whirlwind courtship. Unbeknownst to Johnny, Julia’s family turns out to be incredibly wealthy and uptight, which turns out to be a shock to this self made man and his free thinking philosophy. When the Setons discover that Johnny’s ambitions go against the family’s basic materialism and worship of the almighty dollar, our hero finds himself on the outs with everyone, that is, everyone but Julia’s rebellious free spirit sister Linda (Hepburn), who has become enamored with Johnny. The cast of HOLIDAY also features Lew Ayres, Edward Everett Horton, Henry Kolker, Binnie Barnes, Jean Dixon and Henry Daniell.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made HOLIDAY available on DVD in a solid looking black and white transfer that frames the film in its proper 1.37:1 full screen aspect ratio. HOLIDAY is another older Columbia Pictures film that hadn’t weathered the storm very well in the studios vault and has undergone some restorative work thanks to UCLA. Some rough edges remain, but for the most part the film looks pretty darn good. Sharpness and image detail are good most of the time, but some softness creeps in now and again. In general, blacks appear accurate, as do the whites. Odd shots aside, contrast and grayscale are just fine. When blemishes do appear, it is at modest levels. Film grain is noticeable most of the time, but to varying degrees during the unspooling. Digital compression artifacts are always well contained.

HOLIDAY comes with a Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack that shows an occasional sign of age. As expected, the majority of background hiss and noise have been cleaned up in the mastering process, but some inconsistencies remain in the form of mild distortions, which crop up from time to time. All in all, nothing distracting, but these imperfections are a perfect reminder that this film is almost seventy years old. Fidelity is decidedly limited, with the music sounding thin. Dialogue remains understandable. No other language tracks have been included on the DVD, but English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Korean subtitles are provided.

The basic interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as Cary At Columbia a seven-minute look at the films the actor made for the studio, as well as Photos of a Deleted Scene.

HOLIDAY is another cinematic delight starring screen legends Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant. Sony’s DVD presentation is without any significant problems. If you are a film buff, HOLIDAY is a must have. Recommended.



Holiday (1938)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2007 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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