Death Takes A Holiday
Yvette Mimieux, Monte Markham, Melvyn Douglas, Myrna Loy and Bert Convy
REGION CODE: 0
Region All / Free DVD-R (playable worldwide)
Though quite different in tone from the Frederic March film of the same name, the made for TV remake Death Takes a Holiday still tells the same story. Death takes human form and comes to earth to find out, as he puts it, "why people claim so tenaciously to life." Like the angel in "The Bishop's Wife," he falls for a mortal, played by Yvette Mimieux. Of course, while Death is on vacation, so to speak, nobody dies. And that has repercussions for Mimieux's family.
What a gorgeous film this is, and how it tugs at the heartstrings. The cast is absolutely superlative - Melvyn Douglas, Yvette Mimieux, Monte Markham, Myrna Loy, and Bert Convy. Death appears here as a gentle, benign presence. This presentation is a far cry from the monstrous horror we have come to expect from death. Death in this film is not a Grim Reaper wishing to engulf us in his inevitability. He wishes only to present himself as a fact of life. To understand himself and be understood by others as an experience which has a unique time and place for everyone. Occurring not one moment sooner nor later than necessary, and then as something not to be feared, but rather embraced in its turn.
There are other reasons to watch this rare production of the story. The fine cast: the beautiful Yvette Mimieux is in her prime here and perfect for the title role. I say "title role" because there is actually a dual title role here. It is the interaction between Yvette Mimieux's character and Monte Markham as Death that sets up the central dilemma that drives the picture. Myrna Loy and Melvyn Douglas are fine in supporting roles. Laurindo Almeida's haunting score creates an atmosphere of romantic suspense even while it facilitates contemplation.