STRANGE HOLIDAY (1945)
(a.k.a. THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW)
Article #1733 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-12-2005
Posting Date: 5-11-2006
Directed by Arch Oboler
Featuring Claude Rains, Martin Kosleck, Milton Kibbee
A businessman returns home from a long vacation to find that no one will talk to him. and the few people he can find are living in abject fear. He then finds his family missing and himself arrested.
This piece of wartime propaganda is so paranoid, so overwrought, so preachy, and so emotionally manipulative, I found myself wondering just what brought on this serious lapse of taste. If anything, it’s even more simplistic and unbelievable than its nearest cinematic equivalent, INVASION U.S.A. (1952), and it’s only the impressive thespic talents of Claude Rains that keeps the movie from sliding into total camp. However, a quick perusal of the entry in the Maltin movie guide gave me the crucial clue in understanding why this movie was the way it was; the movie was not originally intended for the viewing public, but was sponsored by GE for the purpose of being shown to its employees only. This places the movie’s origins in the realm of what my wife refers to as Film Ephemera; that other film industry that geared its products to industry and educational purposes. For those who remember the Bell Science Lab films that we all watched in high school, you’ll know the type of thing I mean. This goes a long way towards explaining why the movie is so unsubtle; it primarily existed for its message, which was to keep its employees from taking long vacations while the war was going on. What else can you say?