IMDb > Death Takes a Holiday (1934)
Death Takes a Holiday
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Death Takes a Holiday (1934) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
7.2/10   1,327 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Up 17% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Maxwell Anderson (screenplay) and
Gladys Lehman (screenplay) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Death Takes a Holiday on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
30 March 1934 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
HE LIVED FOR THREE DAYS...AND LOVED FOREVER! (original print ad - all caps) See more »
Plot:
The Grim Reaper takes the form of a prince in an attempt to relate to humans and, along the way, also learns what it is to love. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
1 win & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
Very worth seeing, but frustrating See more (35 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Fredric March ... Prince Sirki / Death

Evelyn Venable ... Grazia

Guy Standing ... Duke Lambert (as Sir Guy Standing)

Katharine Alexander ... Alda

Gail Patrick ... Rhoda

Helen Westley ... Stephanie

Kathleen Howard ... Princess Maria

Kent Taylor ... Corrado

Henry Travers ... Baron Cesarea
G.P. Huntley ... Eric (as G.P. Huntley Jr.)

Otto Hoffman ... Fedele (as Otto Hoffmann)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Anna De Linsky ... Cora - the Maid (uncredited)
Hector V. Sarno ... Pietro - the Gardener (uncredited)

Phillips Smalley ... Manager of Casino (uncredited)
Frank Yaconelli ... Flower Vendor (uncredited)

Directed by
Mitchell Leisen 
 
Writing credits
Maxwell Anderson (screenplay) and
Gladys Lehman (screenplay)

Alberto Casella (play "La Morte in vacanza")

Walter Ferris (english adaptation)

Produced by
Emanuel Cohen .... associate producer (uncredited)
E. Lloyd Sheldon .... producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Bernhard Kaun (uncredited)
John Leipold (uncredited)
Milan Roder (uncredited)
 
Cinematography by
Charles Lang (photographed by)
 
Art Direction by
Hans Dreier (uncredited)
Ernst Fegté (uncredited)
 
Costume Design by
Travis Banton (uncredited)
Edith Head (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Harold Lewis .... sound recording engineer (uncredited)
 
Visual Effects by
Gordon Jennings .... technical effects
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Cliff Shirpser .... assistant camera (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Karl Hajos .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
W. Franke Harling .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Fernando Castillo Díaz .... spanish subtitles (uncredited)
Fernando Castillo Díaz .... spanish translation for dubbing (uncredited)
 
Crew believed to be complete


Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
79 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)
Certification:
UK:A | UK:PG | USA:Unrated | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:TV-PG (TV rating)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on March 22, 1937 with Fredric March reprising his film role.See more »
Goofs:
Factual errors: 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 , something they both would have done in real life.See more »
Quotes:
Duke Lambert:He is the one whom all men dread! He is... DEATH! His Majesty Death, amusing himself on a holiday... amusing himself with love!See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in "Lou Grant: Violence (#4.18)" (1981)See more »
Soundtrack:
Etude in E Op.10 No.3See more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
25 out of 30 people found the following review useful.
Very worth seeing, but frustrating, 11 June 2000
Author: oliverkneale from Denton, TX

First of all, the director of this film, Mitchell Leisen is one of the most underrated talents of 30's and 40's. He's acquired something of a bad reputation because of pretty vicious remarks made about him by Preston Sturges and Billy Wilder when talking about the films he directed from their scripts in the days before they were allowed to direct their *own* scripts. However, he doesn't deserve the derision. He's made some fluff films, for sure, but he's a consistently entertaining filmmaker who, more often than not, really delivers.

Anyway, Death Takes a Holiday is sort of his "art film" and it has a lot of great things in it. Fredric March's performance as Death is wonderful, the atmosphere is thick, the humor works, the scene setting is smart and romantic, and the opening titles are fun and weird, immediately presenting the film as something that's going to be a little unusual.

The problem with the film lies in Fredric March's romance with Evelyn Venable. The idea of Death falling in love with a human is great, but it's just not convincing here, mostly due to Venabale turning in a wooden performance that almost suggests she might be hypnotized. Also, the dialogue between them, particularly in the closing scene, is melodramatic and pseudo poetic beyond belief. You almost want to laugh at it.

It's a shame this most important aspect of the movie was handled so badly because just about everything else in film is great, particularly the interaction between Fredric March and just about everyone else in film who isn't Evelyn Venable. All of the good stuff just bursts with intruiging ideas.

And for that I would recommend the film to all potential viewers. The film is not without it's problems, but the good stuff is just good enough for me to say that the proverbial glass is definitely half full.

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