41 user 19 critic

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.


Mitchell Leisen


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




Complete credited cast:
Fredric March ... Prince Sirki / Death
Evelyn Venable ... Grazia
Guy Standing ... Duke Lambert (as Sir Guy Standing)
Katharine Alexander ... Alda - La Contessa di Parma
Gail Patrick ... Rhoda Fenton
Helen Westley ... Stephanie
Kathleen Howard ... Princess Maria
Kent Taylor ... Corrado
Henry Travers ... Baron Cesarea
G.P. Huntley G.P. Huntley ... Eric Bagley (as G.P. Huntley Jr.)
Otto Hoffman ... Fedele - the Butler (as Otto Hoffmann)
Edward Van Sloan ... Doctor Valle (scenes deleted)


Death (Frederic March) 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 three days with Duke Lambert (Sir Guy Standing) 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 (Evelyn Venable), the beautiful young woman who 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


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 »


Drama | Fantasy | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


One of over seven hundred Paramount Pictures 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. Its initial television broadcast took place in Los Angeles Tuesday, January 6, 1959 on KNXT (Channel 2). In Milwaukee, it first aired April 14, 1959 on WITI (Channel 6), in Detroit on October 19, 1959 on WJBK (Channel 2), in Seattle on October 20, 1959 on KIRO (Channel 7), in San Francisco on January 30, 1960 on KPIX (Channel 5), in New York City on February 2, 1960 on WCBS (Channel 2), in St. Louis on February 11, 1960 on KMOX (Channel 4), in Philadelphia on April 11, 1960 on WCAU (Channel 10), in Toledo on April 26, 1960 on WTOL, and finally in Chicago on October 10, 1960 on WBBM (Channel 2). It was released on DVD November 24, 2009 as part of the Universal Vault Series and has also been granted an occasional airing on Turner Classic Movies during the intervening years. See more »


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 »


Death: I shall feel blood flowing in my veins, the warm blood of life. I shall know what you know, feel what you feel! My hunger shall be appeased for an hour... my hunger that is as old as time - and those I love can feel they are not afraid... not afraid... NOT AFRAID!
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Referenced in Charmed: Death Takes a Halliwell (2001) See more »


Wein, Weib und Gesang (Wine, Women and Song), Op.333
(1869) (uncredited)
Music by Johann Strauss
Played as dance music at the party
See more »

User Reviews

Dark and Romantic
2 April 2004 | by tdldewitt-1See all my reviews

I have watched this movie many times over the years and I continue to love it, even more than the remake `Meet Joe Black' with Brad Pitt and Anthony Hopkins (On it's own a great movie with wonderful actors).

However, In this original movie, `Death Takes A Holiday' the title role is played by the incredibly talented Fredric March, as he portrays an intensely charismatic Death/Prince Sirki. Here you will find an innocent, charming stranger who is learning from his host and the guests surrounding him yet is also imparting his own knowledge and wisdom.

The path Death has taken is a journey in which all of us partake. What makes us human? What brings us joy and happiness in this lifetime? All that Death has ever seen of our world is fear as he greets those who enter his world. So, he enters our world to see and feel what more there is to our existence. In fact, we could learn a great deal from the character Death, for he reminds us of that which we take for granted in this life, and is denied to him as Death.

`Death Takes A Holiday' may seem dark and forbidding but it is filled with hope that is encouraging; and love which should follow us past this life and into the next.

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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


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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