Death decides to take a holiday from his usual business to see what it is like to be a mortal. Posing as Prince Sirki, he spends 3 days with Duke Lambert and his guests at his dukal estate.... See full summary »
Death decides to take a holiday from his usual business to see what it is like to be a mortal. Posing as Prince Sirki, he spends 3 days with Duke Lambert and his guests at his dukal estate. Several of the women are attracted to the mysterious prince, but shy away from him when they sense his true nature. But Grazia, the beautiful young woman whom the Duke thought was to marry his son, loves him even when she knows who he is. Written by
John Oswalt <email@example.com>
Based on an Italian play that performed on Broadway in 1929, the 1934 DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY would be the inspiration for the 1998 Brad Pitt film MEET JOE BLACK--but whereas MEET JOE BLACK proved a highly literal interpretation of the theme, DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY is unexpectedly lyric in tone.
The story is a fantasy. Death has grown weary of the fear he inspires in human beings, and in an effort to understand the tenacity to which they cling to life he decides to take a three day "holiday." He accordingly presents himself at the house of an Italian nobleman as "Prince Sirki," and soon discovers that human beings pass their lives in games, none of them of any great importance or interest. But there is one "game" he has yet to play: love.
Like many films of the early 1930s, the script is a bit talky and the cinematography a bit static; with the exception of Evelyn Venable (as Grazia) and Henry Travers (as Baron Cesarea) the cast, including the usually subtle Frederic March, tend to play in a somewhat theatrical manner. Even so, the overall tone of the film is unexpectedly touching, lyrical, and strangely lovely. It is also, on occasion, gently humorous. And before Death resumes his true identity and returns to the business of mortality, we receive unexpected food for thought.
The film is not widely available on either DVD or VHS, nor is it frequently televised. That is unfortunate, for fans of 1930s cinema will find it darkly charming. Worth seeking out!
Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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