Johnny Holiday (1950)

92 mins | Drama | February 1950

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HISTORY

According to the film's pressbook, at the age of thirteen, producer R. W. Alcorn was sent to the Indiana Boys' School for habitual truancy. He later made a fortune in the international grain markets and made the picture as an expression of gratitude toward the school. Certain scenes in Johnny Holiday were filmed at the school and Alcorn supplied uniforms and shoes for the three hundred youths who participated in the dress parade sequence. A DV news item reported that William Bendix took over the role of "Sarge," from Wallace Beery, who died during the film's pre-production ... More Less

According to the film's pressbook, at the age of thirteen, producer R. W. Alcorn was sent to the Indiana Boys' School for habitual truancy. He later made a fortune in the international grain markets and made the picture as an expression of gratitude toward the school. Certain scenes in Johnny Holiday were filmed at the school and Alcorn supplied uniforms and shoes for the three hundred youths who participated in the dress parade sequence. A DV news item reported that William Bendix took over the role of "Sarge," from Wallace Beery, who died during the film's pre-production phase. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
26 Nov 1949.
---
Daily Variety
6 May
37017, 1949
Daily Variety
18 Nov
p. 3, 9
Film Daily
25 Nov 49
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Jul 49
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Nov 49
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
17 Dec 49
pp. 122-23.
New York Times
17 May 50
p. 36.
Variety
14 Dec 49
p. 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
From a story by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Ward supv
MUSIC
SOUND
Sd eng
VISUAL EFFECTS
Process dept
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Casting dir
SOURCES
SONGS
"My Christmas Song for You," words and music by Hoagy Carmichael.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Release Date:
February 1950
Premiere Information:
World premiere in Indianapolis: 18 November 1949
Production Date:
early July--mid August 1949
Copyright Claimant:
Alcorn Productions
Copyright Date:
3 March 1950
Copyright Number:
LP295
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
92
Length(in feet):
8,297
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
14151
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Twelve-year-old Johnny Holiday and his friend, Eddie Duggan, have been stealing for Eddie's father who operates a saloon as a front for a fencing operation. On his way home from the saloon, Johnny is followed by two police officers. When Mrs. Bellini, who is looking after Johnny while is mother is in hospital, answers the door, the police frisk Johnny and find evidence bearing the name of a drugstore they robbed. Johnny is arrested and sent to the Indiana Boys' School, a reform school located in Plainfield. As soon as he arrives there, Johnny tries to escape into the nearby woods, but runs right into the arms of Sarge Walker, a former cavalry sergeant who is in charge of the school's farm. Later, Dr. Piper, the school's psychologist, offers Johnny a range of work duties, but Johnny does not cooperate. Piper then assigns Johnny to work in Walker's stable and, although he is afraid of horses, grooms a mare named Nellie and bonds with her. Before long, Walker lets Johnny drive the milk wagon, but when tree-trimmers frighten Nellie, the wagon tips over, spilling several milk cans. After the accident, school superintendent Lang hears Walker complaining about Johnny and transfers him to the shoe repair shop. Later, however, Walker talks to Lang about having Johnny transferred back to the farm, but he refuses permission. Later, during a ceremony at the school, the governor of Indiana congratulates the boys on their work. Johnny is proudly marching in a dress parade when he sees Duggan being brought into the school. Walker, a gruff sentimentalist, has taken a liking to Johnny, and Johnny finds himself torn between devotion to Walker and the ... +


Twelve-year-old Johnny Holiday and his friend, Eddie Duggan, have been stealing for Eddie's father who operates a saloon as a front for a fencing operation. On his way home from the saloon, Johnny is followed by two police officers. When Mrs. Bellini, who is looking after Johnny while is mother is in hospital, answers the door, the police frisk Johnny and find evidence bearing the name of a drugstore they robbed. Johnny is arrested and sent to the Indiana Boys' School, a reform school located in Plainfield. As soon as he arrives there, Johnny tries to escape into the nearby woods, but runs right into the arms of Sarge Walker, a former cavalry sergeant who is in charge of the school's farm. Later, Dr. Piper, the school's psychologist, offers Johnny a range of work duties, but Johnny does not cooperate. Piper then assigns Johnny to work in Walker's stable and, although he is afraid of horses, grooms a mare named Nellie and bonds with her. Before long, Walker lets Johnny drive the milk wagon, but when tree-trimmers frighten Nellie, the wagon tips over, spilling several milk cans. After the accident, school superintendent Lang hears Walker complaining about Johnny and transfers him to the shoe repair shop. Later, however, Walker talks to Lang about having Johnny transferred back to the farm, but he refuses permission. Later, during a ceremony at the school, the governor of Indiana congratulates the boys on their work. Johnny is proudly marching in a dress parade when he sees Duggan being brought into the school. Walker, a gruff sentimentalist, has taken a liking to Johnny, and Johnny finds himself torn between devotion to Walker and the horses and loyalty to Duggan. After Walker asks Lang's permission to take Johnny along on a trip to a stock show in Indianapolis, Duggan hears about it and is not pleased. However, Duggan gives Johnny money and asks him to buy cigarettes for him. When they drive past the hospital where Johnny's mother is, Walker pulls over and lets him go inside to see her, even giving him some money to buy her candy. Johnny's mother tells Walker that she feels that Johnny turned bad after meeting Duggan and is grateful that Walker is trying to help him. Walker notices the cigarettes tucked inside Johnny's shirt and confiscates them, and when they get back to the farm, Duggan chastises Johnny for losing his money. Later, as Johnny and Walker are playing a game of mumblety peg, Duggan sees them from the top of the hay loft and drops hay tongs on Walker, but Johnny notices them just in time to push Walker out of the way. Piper diagnoses Duggan as a psychopath and makes arrangements to have him transferred from the farm. Back on his stable duties, Johnny is assigned to watch over Nellie, who is pregnant. When the horse falls ill, Walker thinks that the foal has turned and phones the veterinarian, who tells him that he must kill Nellie in order to save her foal. Walker takes his gun and orders Johnny to go back to his dorm. However, when Johnny hears the shot, he runs back, begins crying and cannot be consoled even by the sight of the healthy colt Walker saves. Duggan uses Walker's action to encourage Johnny to rebel against him, and when Johnny's mother comes to visit him, Walker explains to her that she cannot see him as he is confined to disciplinary barracks. Johnny eventually becomes involved in the care of the colt, but Duggan persuades him to escape with him. On Christmas Eve, in the school's chapel, singer/composer Hoagy Carmichael, a native of Indiana, performs with his friend, organist Buddy Cole. When Hoagy invites some of the boys up on stage to sing his new Christmas song, Johnny and Duggan decide to escape, but Walker sees them leaving. In the barn, Duggan makes Johnny try to hotwire a jeep and goes to get Walker's gun. When Walker arrives, Duggan demands the vehicle's keys and Walker sends Johnny into his office to get them. However, Johnny picks up the phone and calls for help while pleading with Duggan to spare Walker. When Duggan hears the alarms and sees the phone off the hook, he takes Johnny hostage. After being taunted by Walker, Duggan shoots him. Officials arrive and capture Duggan, while Johnny sobs over the wounded Walker. Walker recovers, however, and is proud of Johnny's actions. Later, his penance done, Johnny and his mother bid farewell to Walker and the colt. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.