Holiday is a 1938 film directed by George Cukor.
The film is a romantic comedy that tells of a man who has risen from humble beginnings only to be torn between his free-thinking lifestyle and the tradition of his wealthy fiancée’s family. The movie, adapted by Donald Ogden Stewart and Sidney Buchman from the play by Philip Barry, stars Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant and features Doris Nolan, Lew Ayres, and Edward Everett Horton.
Johnny Case (Cary Grant), a self-made man who has worked all of his life, is about to marry Julia Seton (Doris Nolan), whom he met while on holiday in Lake Placid, New York. He knows very little about his bride-to-be, and is flabbergasted to learn that she is from an extremely wealthy family, the daughter of banker Edward Seton (Henry Kolker).
Case then meets Julia’s vivacious sister, Linda (Katharine Hepburn), to whom he confides his plan to take a long holiday from work to find the meaning of life. He then meets the sisters’ alcoholic brother, Ned (Lew Ayres), whose spirit has been broken by subservience to their father. At first Julia’s father is stunned when she tells him about her plan to marry Johnny, but he is appeased after meeting Johnny and looking into his work history. Julia makes plans for an elaborate New Year’s Eve engagement party, even though she promised Linda that Linda could throw a smaller and more personal affair for Johnny and herself, one that would include only close friends.
On the night of the party, and upset that she did not get to throw the engagement party she was promised, Linda refuses to come down from her favorite room in the house. When Julia sends Johnny to get her he finds her and Ned in the “playroom” – the one truly human room in the enormous, cold, over-built Park Avenue mansion – with Johnny’s off-beat friends, Professor Nick Potter and his wife Susan (Edward Everett Horton and Jean Dixon), who had gotten lost and serendipitously ended up there. The group spends a joyful time together, interrupted – just as Johnny and Linda display a tumbling trick together – by Julia and her father. Mr. Seton offers Johnny a job at his bank, and Johnny reveals his plans for a holiday from work. Julia is appalled, as is her domineering father, and, after seeing in the New Year with Linda, and the announcement of the engagement to the assembled guests, Johnny leaves the mansion in a dark mood without saying goodbye to the family, although wishing the kitchen staff a Happy New Year as he leaves. Linda tells her brother that she has fallen in love with Johnny, but because of her love for her sister she will keep her feelings to herself.
Hoping to patch things up between Johnny and Julia, Linda goes to see the Potters and finds them packing their trunks for a voyage to Europe. She learns from them that Johnny is planning to go as well, and that he has asked Julia to go with them. A telegram arrives, informing them that Julia has turned him down. Linda returns home, hoping to change her sister’s mind, but they argue instead. Julia is certain that Johnny will give up his plans and return to her. Just then Johnny arrives with a compromise: he will work at the bank for two years but will quit then if he is unhappy. Mr. Seton accepts this, and Julia and he begin planning the couple’s honeymoon in minute detail, mixing together stops at the homes of relatives with business-related matters. This makes Johnny realize that it just won’t work, that marrying Julia on these terms will be more of an encumbrance on his freedom than he can abide, and he leaves to meet the Potters to sail to Europe.
Linda sees from Julia’s reaction that she is relieved by Johnny’s decision, and makes Julia admit that she does not really love him after all. With the way now clear, and inspired by Johnny, Linda renounces her father’s stifling influence and declares her independence, rushing off to meet Johnny and the Potters to go on holiday. Meanwhile, the Potters arrive at the ship, sad that Johnny went to take the job at the bank. He surprises them and explains that he couldn’t go through with it, and they cheerfully celebrate together. Johnny is doing a back flip in the ship’s hallway when Linda arrives. He sees her while in mid-handspring and falls on his stomach rather than finishing. When she greets the three of them Johnny takes her hand, pulls her down to the floor, and they kiss.