Death Takes a Holiday (1934)

Death Takes a Holiday (1934)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Death Takes a Holiday Photos

Movie Info

In this filmization of Alberto Casella's play, Death assumes human form in order to discover why men fear him. Posing as a Prince Sirki, Death appears as a house guest at an Italian duke's villa. While "Sirki" is present, Death takes his titular holiday, and no one on Earth dies.
Classics , Comedy , Drama , Science Fiction & Fantasy , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Universal Pictures

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Fredric March
as Prince Sirki
Guy Standing
as Duke Lambert
Helen Westley
as Stephanie
Kathleen Howard
as Princess Maria
Kent Taylor
as Corrado
Henry Travers
as Baron Cesarea
Otto Hoffman
as Fedele
Edward Van Sloan
as Doctor Valle
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Critic Reviews for Death Takes a Holiday

All Critics (6)

A lofty but transfixing allegory, the film remains captivating because its central plot device is so different from most movies, then or now.

June 14, 2007
DVDLaser a house guest that can't be gotten rid of

June 13, 2007

In this wearisome and predictable plot line, Death falls in love and bores us to death talking about it.

Full Review… | December 27, 2005
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Mitchell Leisen's surprisingly complex (especially with its brief 79 minute running time) film has proven itself immune to both time and remakes.

Full Review… | August 21, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Quote not available.

June 23, 2005

Quote not available.

March 16, 2004
Apollo Guide

Audience Reviews for Death Takes a Holiday

A mite stagy with occasional theatrical performances but still a compelling allegory about the mysteries of life and death.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer


starts out great, fascinating conceit and frederic march has the right air of underlying menace but the tone is too melodramatic and lead actress evelyn venable is really kind of annoying. it's got a ways to go to be worse than remake 'meet joe black' with brad pitt and anthony hopkins tho

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer


Death Takes a Holiday (1934) -- [5.0] -- I love the concept, but "Death Takes a Holiday" has a hard time overcoming the theatricality of its source material, a stage play by Alberto Casella. The sets are extravagant and the visual effects used to depict Death are remarkable for the time (double-exposure with a moving camera -- I don't know how they did it without computers). But the film is way too talky -- especially at the end, where the characters beat the subtext to a pulp. Fredric March isn't my first choice for Death. He's neither frightening, likeable, nor humorous enough to make the role sing. Brad Pitt would do a much better job in the also-flawed 1998 remake, "Meet Joe Black."

Scott Schirmer
Scott Schirmer

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