Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY (1934). Director: Mitchell Leisen. NOTE: Some plot points are revealed.

Death decides to find out why mortals fear him so and turns up in the guise of Prince Sirki at an Italian estate. [If Death wanted to find out about Life, he probably shouldn't have hung out with the idle rich.] Unfortunately, Sirki/Death falls in love with the beautiful Grazia (Evelyn Venable), who ultimately decides to, in effect, commit suicide so she can spend eternity with him. The point of the film is that “Love is stronger than Death.” Gladys Lehman and Maxwell Anderson adapted an Italian play but what they've come up with, despite a great premise, is muddled and pretentious, although the picture is well-acted (Fredric March is excellent as Death), well-directed by Leisen, and holds the attention. Much more successful than Between Two Worlds, in other words.
Verdict: Worth a look. **1/2.

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