7.2/10
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Death Takes a Holiday (1934)

Passed | | Drama, Fantasy, Romance | 30 March 1934 (USA)
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.

Director:

Mitchell Leisen

Writers:

Maxwell Anderson (screenplay), Gladys Lehman (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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 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:

HE LIVED FOR THREE DAYS...AND LOVED FOREVER! (original print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

30 March 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Strange Holiday See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Claudette Colbert was initially slated for the role of Grazia. 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 , something they both would have done in real life. See more »

Quotes

Death: I bound myself to life, and with it, to the little rules by which it is lived. And now I must bow to it. What a monstrous comedy!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Conan: Death Takes a Time-Share (2011) 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

 
Meet Death at an Italian villa.
5 January 2005 | by Mike-764See all my reviews

Duke Lambert vacations with his family and friends in an Italian villa, when that night he receives the most unwelcome visitor of all, Death. Death, however, is not making his usual visit but seeking to take a holiday in the guise of a mortal to find out people's perceptions and fears on death and its relationship to life. Disguising himself as Prince Siriki (who Death made his customary visit to) he mingles among Lambert's family and friends, but strikes the most sincere relationship with Grazia, a young lady who is the daughter of a princess and the fiancé of Lambert's son Corrado. Grazia leaves the villa for a short time and in the meanwhile, Death takes in the fun that mortals do (especially these financially well-off mortals), but can't seem to find the answers to what he is searching for. When Corrado and the others learn from Lambert who the prince really is, they plan to get him as far away from the villa as possible, but that may endanger the life of Grazia, who has recently returned. A very intense film that blends the elements of philosophy, romance, drama, and dark humor. March, a comic actor in his early career, plays his role extremely well by taking the role seriously (which the rest of the cast was able to do admirably) while injecting the feeling and curiosity expected of him. Venable seemed a bit wooden, but I'm not sure if that was really her or her character. The ending seems to be acted on top of a soapbox, but the final scenes are masterfully done. Rating, 8.


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