7.7/10
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Death Takes a Holiday (1971)

Death takes a human form and visits Earth to try to find out why humans want so desperately to cling to life. He unexpectedly falls in love with a beautiful young woman.

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Cast

Cast overview:
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Peggy Chapman
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David Smith
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Selena Chapman
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John Cummings
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Judge Earl Chapman
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Senator Earl Chapman, Jr.
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Marion Chapman
Austin Willis ...
Martin Herndon
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Tony Chapman
Maureen Reagan ...
Ellen Chapman
Regis Cordic ...
TV Announcer
Mario Machado ...
TV Announcer
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Storyline

Death takes a human form and visits Earth to try to find out why humans want so desperately to cling to life. He unexpectedly falls in love with a beautiful young woman.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Fantasy | Drama

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23 October 1971 (USA)  »

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(Technicolor)

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

John Cummings: I think you're a phony... a very clever gold-digging phony, Mr. Smith. I intend to prove that to Peggy and to Judge Chapman.
David Smith: You'd be well advised to leave well enough alone.
John Cummings: But thing's aren't well enough, are they? There's something wrong about you. I want you out of here, off this island.
David Smith: I'm afraid your wants are the least of my concerns right now.
John Cummings: I'll tell you something, Smith... if I have to beat the truth out of you, I'll do it!
David Smith: Take my advice, Mr. Cummings... don't get involved in ...
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Connections

Remake of Death Takes a Holiday (1934) See more »

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User Reviews

Very Good Version of the Play
29 August 2015 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Death Takes a Holiday (1971)

*** (out of 4)

Peggy Chapman (Yvette Mimieux) is out swimming when she begins to struggle under the sea. Moments later she wakes up on the beach with David Smith (Monte Markham) standing there. She invites the man back to her family's home but soon her father (Melvyn Douglas) begins to think that the man might just be Death himself.

DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY is a classic play that has been filmed many times over the decades including a wonderful version from 1934 that featured Fredric March. While this made-for-TV version isn't nearly as great, this film is certainly highly entertaining and manages to hit on all the key parts of the play as well as featuring some excellent performances from the cast.

I've always found the idea of Death taking a vacation and not collecting any souls to be quite fascinating and this film manages to make all the strong points in only 74 minutes. There are so many fascinating things dealing with the story including the discussion on why people fear Death so much and why many will fight it even if they are unhappy on Earth. There are so many interesting things discussed here and it's truly the type of story that makes you think and wonder about your own life.

The performances are certainly a very strong point here with both Mimieux and Markham doing an excellent job in their roles. Both of them certainly make you believe in these characters and there's no doubt that they make for a great couple. Douglas is simply wonderful as the old man who begins to suspect that Death is near but not quite sure who for. Him and Markham have a sequence where they go back and forth on the subject and it's wonderfully performed. Myrna Loy also appears as the wife and Bert Convy is on hand as well.

The 1934 version of the play is still the best that I've seen but this television movie is certainly worth checking out.


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