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Death Takes a Holiday (1934)

7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 1,080 users  
Reviews: 33 user | 10 critic

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 »

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Title: Death Takes a Holiday (1934)

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The only filmed English version of Gregorio Martinez Sierra's classic Spanish play.

Director: Mitchell Leisen
Stars: Dorothea Wieck, Evelyn Venable, Guy Standing
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Prince Sirki / Death
Evelyn Venable ...
Grazia
Guy Standing ...
Duke Lambert (as Sir Guy Standing)
Katharine Alexander ...
Alda
Gail Patrick ...
Rhoda
Helen Westley ...
Kathleen Howard ...
Princess Maria
Kent Taylor ...
Corrado
...
G.P. Huntley ...
Eric (as G.P. Huntley Jr.)
Otto Hoffman ...
Fedele (as Otto Hoffmann)
Edit

Storyline

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 <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

prince | guest | love | holiday | death | See All (49) »

Taglines:

No woman ever had such a lover...the whole world paused...waited breathlessly while he wooed with the ardor of a man tasting love for the first time. See more »

Genres:

Romance | Fantasy

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

30 March 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Strange Holiday  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »

Goofs

In one of the opening scenes, Grazia is praying in a Catholic Church. She makes the Sign of the Cross and is meditating when Corrado joins her. When leaving, she fails to genuflect and make another Sign of the Cross, something they both would have done in real life. See more »

Quotes

Death: Can you conceive how lonely I am - when there is nothing that doesn't shrink from me?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dexter: Dex Takes a Holiday (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Valse Triste
(1903) (uncredited)
from "Kuolema, Op.44"
Music by Jean Sibelius
Performed offscreen by an orchestra, and also during the end credits
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Holiday Affair
13 May 2002 | by (brighton, ma) – See all my reviews

Adapted from a play by Alberto Casella, Death Takes a Holiday is a more charming film that one might imagine. Death, using the name Prince Sirki, comes to earth in human form to learn a thing or two about life and human nature. He gets more than he bargained for. This is one of the first directorial jobs Mitchell Leisen had at Paramount, and he makes the most of it. He manages to make the film at various moments gloomy and romantic, lighthearted and very serious. At no time is the movie depressing, and the ending surprisingly uplifting.

Fredric March makes a handsome, almost soulful Prince Sirki, and delivers a fine performance. I only wish that he had used the same restraint in his later, flashier character-acting roles. Offering strong support are Evelyn Venable, Guy Standing and Henry Travers (later to play an angel of mercy in It's a Wonderful Life). There's a lot of good luck on the side of this film. Paramount was the right studio to make it. They tended to bring a light touch to nearly everything they did in those days, and it is most appreciated here. I highly recommend this movie to pessimistic know-it-alls who think they have everything figured out.


24 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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