I was inspired by the list Netflix just posted to come up with my own top ten list of vacation movies, but I could only think of four that I really like:
Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday (1953) This is my favorite vacation movie. In the midst of elegant slapstick and accompanied by a jaunty soundtrack, there is a group of vacationers working like crazy to have a good time. It’s fun, but also brings to light how seriously we take our free time.
Summertime (1955) In her role as a schoolteacher on holiday, Katharine Hepburn has many painfully awkward moments, but the innocent, adventurous manner which brings her so much trouble is also what makes her, and the movie, so appealing.
Weekend in Havana (1941) There is hardly a serious moment in this goofy, glossy musical about a single gal who lucks into an exotic weekend in Havana. Mellow-voiced Alice Faye and sparkling Carmen Miranda are perfect counterparts.
Dodsworth (1936) I’m not sure this one counts. Can you call it a vacation if you never plan to work again? In any case, this is a story of a vacation from not only day-to-day life, but an entire culture. Walter Huston is a retired automobile company head who loses his wife, but finds a whole new world as he travels Europe in this bittersweet romance.