It’s time to look at a very old film. This title came out before Star Wars, Godzilla, and even Twister. I haven’t seen many films from the 1930’s so it was cool to see this one. I’ve always thought that the writing in the older generations was better so a film about an average day more or less for the main characters would be more interesting in the 1930’s than for a 2000’s film. After all, it is fun to see how people used to spend their days and how refined the English Language was.
The title is fairly accurate as to the plot of the film. A group of rich people all head to a large mansion and are intent on having a good time. Things get a little worrisome when the host is visited by Death, who has decided to take a holiday. He won’t be performing his usual duties while on vacation as he wants to learn why people fear him so much. The host reluctantly agrees to let him join in on the festivities and Death warns that if any of the mortals find out his true identity…they’ll all have to die!
The film’s quite enjoyable which is always a good thing for a movie. Ultimately, you want to have a good time watching it and the film succeeded for me as I never grew bored. As I mentioned, it’s essentially a slice of life film as Death ponders some deep questions about life, but the film is completely dialogue based. Don’t expect any long chase scenes or anything like that. To an extent, you could also call it a bit of a romance film between Death and the main heroine, Grazia. It’s an old school romance so it’s played out better than 90% of the modern ones. They don’t actually start kissing or acting as if they’ve known each other for years. Rather, it’s played more delicately and the moral involves looking beyond the exterior when in love. It’s a good message and handled well.
That being said, I didn’t care for Grazia. She was rather vague at times and couldn’t always seem to make up her mind. She definitely kept her allies confused the whole time and I’m sure that they were very puzzled as she would faint and practically invite death as she goaded her friend into driving very quickly. You’ll possibly feel bad for the guy as he wanted to be with her, but was quickly friend zones. Grazia even said that she loved the guy…as a friend. That was probably one of the best moments in the film and I still say that it should happen more often.
Death isn’t a great main character as he is not very smart in the ways of humans so he is always slow on the uptake. The plot of an alien or concept trying to learn Earth customs has never been my favorite. Death tries to get the hang of things, but I feel like he should have a better understanding of Earth since he’s always creeping around. Evidently, you don’t learn how to be subtle while sending people to their graves. The host was probably the best character as he did try to shoot Death. While he may have lost his nerve after that, he started out strong and he was one of the more reasonable characters, it’s just too bad that he was so scared.
Of course, you could say that about the whole cast as they were petrified of Death. Even when they thought that Grazia was in danger, they didn’t step in to help her. Fearing death is a little overblown here as the heroes should be willing to risk death to save their friend. Especially the guy who wanted to be Grazia’s boyfriend, he simply backed down when he should have tried to press on.
One part of the plot that was fairly humorous was the fact that nobody could die since Death was on vacation. The film showed various disasters where people should have died and then the newspaper would say that everyone survived. That was neat and certainly fun as the heroes would wonder what was happening. Those people must have been very lucky eh? The most unbelievable for the heroes was the guy who jumped off of a skyscraper and just got back up. I wonder if he got any injuries or if “dying” resets you back to normal. It’s interesting to think about.
The film’s fairly short as it is just a little over an hour. It makes for a very quick watch. The film was good and there isn’t a whole lot of negatives to say about it. The main cast could have been better, but at least the unlikable characters here are still far better than the average unlikable characters from the modern films. One negative would probably be the plot where two of the characters are constantly flirting with Death as it does come across as a little unnecessary, but it’s not too bothersome. It’s just around and then it fades away.
Overall, Death Takes a Holiday is a solid film. The scene where the host is warning everyone not to upset Death was fun as there was a lot of tension in the air and it had a similar effect as if he had told everyone that the guy was Death anyway. Thinking about a world without Death is interesting, but the world would be overpopulated very quickly and the world would be in a state of ruin. The film briefly touches on that and the concept of what happens after Death as well. For Christians like myself, Death holds no sway as we have Heaven to look forward too. This film shows that without such a firm belief as to where you go after Death, Death itself has a lot of control over the individual. In the remake, it would be fun to see a Christian character and how they would interact with Death. That would add a whole new layer to the experience. Either way, I definitely recommend this title. It’s almost a century old, but holds up quite well and is as enjoyable now as it was back in the day.