Death Takes a Holiday

Director: Mitchell Leisen
Year Released: 1934
Rating: 2.0

The grim reaper (Fredric March) crashes a bourgeois gathering in order to see if he can learn why human beings are afraid of meeting their end, which is quite obvious if all death amounts to is pure nothingness (unless you're a fan of nothingness, that is). It's not a "movie," exactly, as much as a dissertation: March and guests have very pointed and often silly conversations about all forms of human folly and every time I tried getting involved with the characters on some basic level, my interest would be deflected by the screenwriters' vision of mortality. It's no real surprise that Death is fascinated with his day job and eager to do some P.R. work on the side, but must his self-absorption turn out to be such a chore?