HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Halloween Kills
Cicada
Sun Shines Bright, The
Last Thing Mary Saw, The
Comets
Herself
Mon Oncle d'Amerique
Wild Strawberries
Runner, The
Don't Look Up
Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Eternals
Forever Purge, The
Memoria
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Legend of La Llorona, The
Japon
Glasshouse
Perdita Durango
Commando, The
Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror
Boiling Point
Malignant
Deadly Games
Ailey
Voyeurs, The
Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes
In the Earth
Hiroshima Mon Amour
Hotel Poseidon
Zola
No Time to Die
Klaus
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Candyman
Power of the Dog, The
StageFright
Voyage of Time: An IMAX Documentary
Suicide Squad, The
One Night in Miami...
   
 
Newest Articles
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
   
 
  Death Takes A Holiday Enduring Love
Year: 1934
Director: Mitchell Leisen
Stars: Fredric March, Evelyn Venable, Guy Standing, Katharine Alexander, Gail Patrick, Helen Westley, Kathleen Howard, Kent Taylor, Henry Travers, G.P. Huntley, Otto Hoffman
Genre: Romance, FantasyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: A group of aristocrats are setting out for home after spending the day at a local festival, and after the starry-eyed Grazia (Evelyn Venable), the daughter of Duke Lambert (Guy Standing), is fetched from the church she was praying in, they head off on the road. Grazia is in the car with her fiancé Corrado (Kent Taylor) and they are travelling along the precarious country roads at breakneck speed, even as Grazia asks him to go faster, but suddenly a shadow seems to be chasing them, then catching up, then engulfing them. The car narrowly avoids crashing into a flower cart, but the Duke's car is not so lucky...

...but don't worry, as nobody is hurt, although the flower seller takes a tumble. That shadow, as you might imagine from the title, is the manifestation of Death, and it's the passage to the afterlife that concerns this film, almost to distraction. It was based on a play, originally in Italian, adapted for the screen by Maxwell Anderson and Gladys Lehman, and it's nineteen-twenties-style preoccupation with the Grim Reaper seemed better suited to that decade than the following one. Nevertheless, it was the thirties that saw the film made, and a curious specimen it was.

The premise is that Death is wondering about life, surely the opposite of his existence, and about what endures which you'll no doubt be unsurprised to hear is love. This brings us to Grazia, a strange young woman who seems to be away with the fairies for most of the running time, thanks to a dreamy delivery and faraway look in her eye which Venable keeps up for every scene she's in. Grazia appears to have a preoccupation with death, almost a death wish which will come true when she gets to meet an incarnation of him that night.

Death comes for the Duke, and after frightening Grazia in the garden, he appears to him and says he would like to live as a human for a while - but only three days. The shocked Duke agrees not to give away the secret as Death pretends to be the Duke's friend Prince Sirki, who looks a lot like Fredric March with a monocle. This charming conceit ends up being far more serious than it needs to be, and there's something to be said for treating the subject of our demise with humour (always look on the bright side of life, and all that), but the only lightness of touch we see is when the effects of no death on the world make themselves plain.

But that is simply a throwaway montage, and thereafter Death, smitten with Grazia, dominates the fantasy in a ponderous manner. The trouble is, once we have Death walking among us, what can the film do with him? And the answer is "not enough" as long speeches about the impossibility or otherwise of love across the boundaries of this life and the next begin to take over. Nice touches include Sirki winning big at the casino then giving away all his loot when exasperated that he might have to take it with him, but March comes across as too stuffy to really warm to, not his fault as it's all there in the script. The ending, full of overwrought conversations as the Duke is forced to give the game away for fear that Death will claim them all, at least has the benefit of an unexpected denouement, but I'm unsure if it's a happy ending or not. It's difficult to be light hearted amidst all this morbidity.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 4752 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: