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Hi dear readers! Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Kelly Miller to Diary of an Eccentric for the first time to celebrate the release of Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley. Please give her a warm welcome, and stay tuned for a very generous giveaway from Meryton Press!

Movie versions of Death Takes a Holiday

My first notion of writing a story in which Fitzwilliam Darcy is visited by an angel came to me when I noted that The Bishop’s Wife, 1947, Starring Cary Grant, Loretta Young, and David Niven, was to play on television. I set the movie up to be recorded but did not watch it right away. As I contemplated what I recalled of the plot, I decided that I would fuse ideas from a number of my best-loved movies from that genre, including Death takes a Holiday, 1934, from which I borrowed my title, and Warren Beatty’s Heaven can Wait, 1978. The end result is a love story that features Jane Austen’s two best-loved characters, and their great and abiding love while it reflects the author’s affection for movies with an element of fantasy.

In Death takes a Holiday, the 1934 film based upon the 1924 Italian play, La Morte in Vacanza, by Alberto Casella, Death (Fredric March) takes the form of a handsome prince and appears at the home of Duke Lambert (Sir Guy Standing), an Italian nobleman. Duke Lambert has a house full of guests, including Lambert’s son, Corrado, and the son’s lovely and wistful intended, Grazia (Evelyn Venable). Death, using the name Prince Sirki, demands that the Duke act as his host for three days to indulge his desire to experience life as a mortal and gain an understanding for why humans hold such fear for him.

While Prince Sirki is on his holiday, no deaths occur throughout the world, despite the fact that accidents, disasters, and crimes continue to occur.

Prince Sirki interacts with the Duke’s guests and finds that several of the ladies, though drawn to his attractive form, become afraid of him when they get too close to him and get a sense of his true identity.

Only the beautiful Grazia, a young woman plagued by a mysterious melancholy, seems unafraid to face Prince Sirki’s true identity. When Duke Lambert realizes Prince Sirki has fallen in love with the lady promised to his son, he begs Death to walk away from her and leave her to the world of the living. Will Death selfishly take this beautiful, young lady with him when he leaves, or will he act in a way to serve her own best interests?

The 1998 film, Meet Joe Black, starring Anthony Hopkins, Brad Pitt, and Claire Forlani is a remake of Death takes a Holiday, but it is so different from the 1934 version that to compare the two seems out of place. That said, Meet Joe Black has its own charm and appeal, even beyond that of the talents of the two male stars. I thought it was interesting to note that while many who reviewed the 1934 version as vastly superior in the Internet Movie Database (IMDB), the overall ratings of the 1934 and 1998 movies were equal: 7.2 out of 10.

It was not until I researched for this blog entry that I learned a 1971 version of Death takes a Holiday was made starring Yvette Mimieux, Myrna Loy, and Melvyn Douglas. The casting of Monte Markham as Death seemed odd to me from the start, but IMDB reviewers gave this made-for-television version an impressive 7.6 out of 10. I was thrilled to find it available to watch on Youtube.com and was able to view the entire movie. Unfortunately, I found this version, despite the high-caliber performance of Myrna Loy and Melvyn Douglas, to be by far the weakest of the three. I would have preferred another actor as Death, someone who might have, at crucial moments in the movie, displayed an expression of fierceness to explain why some in the movie were frightened by him. I did not find the movie to be as compelling as either of the other two versions. I was led to believe that the high ratings on IMDB were from those who remembered seeing the movie long ago, perhaps as young teens, and had a nostalgic affection for it.

Of the three movie versions, I would place the 1934 version of Death takes a Holiday first. I deem it to be the most mysterious and romantic of the three movies. A close second, is Meet Joe Black, which has a lot of appeal in its own right but is not so stylish or compelling as the 1934 movie, and I suspect not so apt to remain on the viewer’s mind after seeing it. I would place the 1971 made-for-television version of Death takes a Holiday at a very distant third place.

Thank you, Kelly, for being my guest today. I always love to read about how novels come to life, and you’ve made me very eager to read yours. Congratulations on your new release!

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About Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley

What will the master of Pemberley do when confronted with the mercurial whims of an all-powerful angel?

Fitzwilliam Darcy’s well-ordered life is about to become a chaotic nightmare. A man of fortune, property, and social prominence, he has everything he could desire. Blissfully married to his wife, Elizabeth, they have a two-year-old son. With so much to live for, Darcy is shaken by a near-fatal riding accident. After a miraculous escape, he is visited by an otherworldly being: an angel of death named Graham. Threatening dire consequences, Graham compels Darcy to guide him on a sojourn in the world of mortals.

Darcy immediately questions the angel’s motives when he demands to be a guest at Pemberley. Can he trust Graham’s assurance that no harm will come to his wife and child? And why does Graham insist on spending time with Elizabeth? How can Darcy possibly protect his family from an angel with power over life and death?

In this romantic fantasy, the beloved couple from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice must contend with both human and unearthly challenges. Are the fates against them? Or will their extraordinary love conquer all?

Buy links:

eBook:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Paperback:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

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About the Author

Kelly Miller

Kelly Miller discovered her appreciation for Jane Austen late in life, and her love of writing even later.  It was the 1995 miniseries of Pride and Prejudice that made her take notice and want to read the actual book.  It was many years later that she discovered the world of JAFF.  After reading a slew of wildly inventive stories featuring the beloved characters created by Jane Austen, she was inspired to write one of her own.  Now, writing is one of her favorite pastimes.  When not writing, she spends her free time singing, playing the piano, and working out.  (Yes, like Elizabeth Bennet, she is an excellent walker.)  Kelly Miller lives in Silicon Valley with her husband, daughter and their many pets.

Connect with Kelly: Amazon Author PageGoodreads Author Page | Facebook

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Giveaway

Meryton Press is giving away 8 eBooks of Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley. You must enter through this Rafflecopter link. Good luck!

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June 14 From Pemberley to Milton

June 15 More Agreeably Engaged

June 17 Diary of an Eccentric

June 18 So Little Time…

June 19 Austenesque Reviews

June 20 Savvy Verse & Wit

June 21 Babblings of a Bookworm

June22 My Love for Jane Austen

June 24 My Vices and Weaknesses

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