6 February 2006 | bkoganbing
So Right for Phillip Barry Roles
Katharine Hepburn brought three Phillip Barry characters to life on the screen in Without Love, The Philadelphia Story and first and foremost Holiday. Her upper class upbringing in Connecticut made her the perfect actress for his plays about the fabulously wealthy which Depression Era USA just ate up.
Holiday of necessity had to be updated. It debuted on Broadway in the boom year of 1928 so some lines to acknowledge the Great Depression had to be included. When Henry Daniell says his obscene market profits would be better with the right kind of government, he's taking dead aim at the New Deal, in particularly the newly formed Security Exchange Commission.
One guy who wants out of the money making rat race is Cary Grant as Johnny Case. He's a poor kid who's worked his way up, probably the same as the founder of the Seton fortune did back in the day. But he's decided there's more to life than just making money. Like Grandpa Vanderhof in You Can't Take It With You or Charles Foster Kane who admittedly inherited his. Henry Kolker as Edward Seton and George Coulouris as Thatcher think exactly alike.
Case has a vision of his life and wants to share it with his fiancé Doris Nolan. But he's picked the wrong sister, it's younger sister Katharine Hepburn of the Seton girls who's his soul mate.
As one who's now retired and admittedly not living in the style of the Setons I can empathize with Cary Grant. As long as you have enough to live on and you have interests to occupy yourself and you don't have a family to support, why work? In fact make room for the next generation who might have a family to support.
In that sense Holiday has a message that applies more for today than it did in 1938. Make what you can, take care of those who depend on you, but get out and enjoy life.
And enjoy Holiday.