Death Takes a Holiday: or the smooth moves of a Hollywood Romeo

A few years ago I was summoned to the home of a prominent film director for dinner. The house was lovely, a large scale estate probably dating back to the silent era.

It appeared as if the director had just moved in, judging by the lack of furniture. We dined at a card table on pasta topped with jarred sauce (Prego, I think) but the company was delightful and we had been promised a screening… And besides, our host seemed to have designs on one of his female guests and I suspect the rest of us were serving as buffers.

So, after supper we trooped into the screening room, sans seats, and plopped ourselves down on the floor – picnic style – to watch DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY. It was funny and sad and “delicately morbid”. Loved it, fabulous evening, frat boy spaghetti and all.

DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY, directed by Mitchell Leisen, starring Frederic March, Evelyn Venable, and Guy Standing, based on the Italian play by Alberto Casella… Cinematography by Charles Lang

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  1. George Kaplan
    March 4, 2013

    You were right, Vickie, I did enjoy this. Fabulous story. I’m trying to picture the house and grounds (you didn’t glimpse Erich Von Stroheim burying a primate, did you?). Loved the description of the meal and circumstances, you’re a delightful writer. It sounds a wonderful fun occasion, I like the contrast between the em “unfussy” meal and the surroundings. And then you top it with the screening. Watching Death Takes A Holiday from the floor in a dream home. Perfect. I know, I’m gushing. Hm. Now, who could that director be? We can say he has taste at least. Mmm. Intriguing Thanks ever so for the link, belle dame.

  2. April 19, 2013

    Thanks Vickie,enjoyed the story and could quite easily visualise the place and people.I am going to have to look up Death Takes a Holiday- as well as it appealed to me.

    • April 19, 2013

      The modern update, “Meet Joe Black” is also worth a look.

  3. February 20, 2014


    • February 21, 2014

      Pretty much, but then a lot of directors have that kind of…I’d call it a little lack of social skills and a tendency to bark orders rather than invite 😉 .

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