Sunday, December 04, 2011

Ann Harding, in Holiday

approximately 56 minutes and 32 seconds

63.1% of the film

The film

The story of two sisters and a young man who is torn between his free-thinking lifestyle and the tradition of his wealthy fiancée's family.

You can read my short review of the film just by clicking HERE.

It's a light comedy, or better said a romantic film, that’s easy to watch but never truly smart or very engaging. I did appreciate the performances and Mary Astor’s beauty and attitude were mesmerizing to me.

Ann Harding as Linda Seton

It is a truth universally acknowledged that… that most people have no idea who Ann Harding is. I wouldn’t have known either had I not been a mostly-die-hard Best Actress fan; I don’t know any other films of hers, though she seems to have appeared in plenty of pictures. Based on her imdb page, this was one of her first film roles and she does get to give an interesting performance.

Ann plays Linda Seton, a rich but down-to-earth, charming, romantic woman that falls in love with her sister’s fiancé, slowly realizing that she’s the right woman for him, and not her arrogant sister. It’s a role neither very dramatic, nor very comedic; what is does require is a lot of personality from its actress and some ability to deliver some very stagey lines. That being said, in my opinion there’s not enough strong writing to make this a great performance; but Ann handles well what she has to do.

The highest achievement in Ann’s performance is to make Linda very likeable and as honest as possible. There’s a fantastic kindness that Ann shows us that felt very natural to me, and beautifully contrasting Mary Astor cold, sharp performance as Julia. Ann understands the lightness of the film and doesn’t bother to get from the character more drama that it’s actually given.

The performance consists mostly of sarcastic lines that Ann delivers well, with touches of real emotion here and there. There’s a scene where

Linda confronts her father, it’s the most emotional one and it’s nicely played, but otherwise the screenplay is pretty dry and doesn’t give Ann anything too demanding or juicy enough to show real range.

Another plus is her chemistry with her co-stars, especially the actor who plays her brother; they have a couple of nice scenes together, and both acted like they knew each other well enough, therefore creating a nice emotional connection that the film could really use.

It’s a stagey performance, but how else could it be given the dialogue; Ann is what she’s supposed to be: charming, likeable, natural, sweet, but she doesn’t get enough chances to show real emotion and range. I’m not saying every performance must do that, but based on the way I judge them I tend to appreciate the difficulty of a role, which isn’t the case here. It’s a strong from me.


Fritz said...

I liked her more than you do but the Hepburn/Grant-version is sooo much better.

dinasztie said...

I'm kind of interested in this one. :)

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