Sometimes around Christmastime the subject of “White Christmas” comes up (okay, sometimes I forcibly raise this question). There’s always some David Bordwell acolyte who’s all, well, that song originally appeared in Holiday Inn, which is objectively the superior film. It seems to me that Holiday Inn (with Fred Astaire as Bing Crosby’s sidekick rather than Danny Kaye), is in fact a better movie, though it suffers from a lack of Mary Wickes. Aside from that, I think at least one reason Holiday Inn never became as much of a Christmas classic as White Christmas is a) that it’s in black and white, and b) that it has a straight-up blackface scene that just kinda smacks you in the face. At least partially because it’s TO CELEBRATE LINCOLN’S BIRTHDAY. You can’t make this shit up (TW for blackface minstrelsy and a “Thank you, white savior” interlude from the only speaking characters of color in the movie - it can be hard to watch). And the movie was made in 1942.
And yet White Christmas (1954) has its own problems here - in lieu of a minstrel number, there is a number about how AWESOME minstrelsy was, and how much it sucks that “we” can’t do it anymore. So that seems like it might be better, although it’s definitely part of the excessive whitewashing and erasure of people of color in public life that characterized this decade. Since White Christmas is all about integrating soldiers into civilian life post-WWII, it has an investment in presenting that life as as uncomplicated and homogenous as possible, I suppose. But once you’ve really thought about “Gee, I Wish I Was Back in the Army,” you can’t think about Stop-Loss the same way.
So, I guess what I’m saying is, Merry Christmas?