Christmas Holiday, Deanna Durbin’s 14th film and the first with a script not written specifically for her, is a strange movie. Not only does it greatly veer from the actual plot of the drearily “world-weary” Somerset Maugham novel it’s based on, it has a melancholy all its own that has nothing to do with the Yuletide spirit. In it, Durbin plays against type as a New Orleans singer/prostitute, while none other than Gene Kelly plays her violent, emotionally troubled husband. And he doesn’t even dance! But my God, he is the handsomest, sexiest Mister Wrong you’re ever going to see in a quasi-film noir with music.

Deanna Durbin Gene Kelly.jpgDeanna Durbin and Gene Kelly in Christmas Holiday, 1944, available in its entirety here. Durbin sings “Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year” at 11:00.

Loesser, who taught himself to read music, was a master at turning out orchestrations of his own Broadway scores (like the prize-winning How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying) as well as simple, tuneful blues like this one. There are dozens of versions of this great standard on the ‘net, but this is the one I really want to share with you because I think it sounds the nicest. It comes from a “novelty” album from the mid-60s that was a tie-in to a popular US TV show:

“Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year”
Larry Hovis, vocalist
Hogan’s Heroes Sing The Best of WWII
Sunset Records, July 1966


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