Genre Guesstimation – On Borrowed Time (1939)

The idea behind this feature (Genre Guesstimation) is for me to watch a bunch of new movies (or ones that I haven’t seen many times) from the chosen monthly GG genre in order to expand my knowledge of movies within that particular genre.

This month’s genre has been chosen by Kristen of KN Winiarski Writes and we will be reviewing our favorite Classic Fantasy films (thru the 1970’s).

Please get me your submissions by the 25th of Nov by sending them to

Try to think out of the box! Great choice Kristen!

Let’s see if I felt that this movie would be worthy of being in the company of my others favorite movies in the genre of Classic Fantasy films (thru the 1970’s)……


“I can’t stand these holier-than-thou folks. If a man’s a good Republican, or a mason or an elk, that’s good enough for me. Live and let live, that’s my motto.” – Julian Northrup

Number of Times Seen – 1 (2 Nov 2020)

Brief Synopsis – An old man tricks death into climbing a tree where he gets stuck and can no longer cause people to die.

My Take on it – This is yet another film that I knew nothing about after coming across it during my research into films of this genre.

The premise of this movie is quite profound and stays gripping the whole way through.

The story works so well and it wonderfully is able to connect on numerous levels.

This was originally a stage play and they do a great job translating it to the screen while still keeping true to the minimalist story line.

The message of the film is simple yet presented in a very poignant manner.

The cast is superb with Lionel Barrymore and Cedric Hardwicke perfectly chosen for this battle of wits between man and the personification of death.

The movie’s dialogue is written really well and allows us to get a much deeper understanding of all that is happening as these two powerhouses battle one another throughout.

Bottom Line – Such a profound premise that works on so many levels. They do a wonderful job adapting this play and are able to keep things quite poignant and simple even when they have the ability to expand the venue o the story. The cast is amazing with Lionel Barrymore and Cedric Hardwicke perfectly cast opposite one another in the battle between life and death. The dialogue is exquisite and allows us to get a very deep understanding of everything going on as these characters have a powerful battle of wits with one another. Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Most folk beliefs (cross culturally) hold that children are able to see magical beings. Especially since Pud and his grandfather are so close (i.e.: Pud identifies with him and feels whatever his Gramps “feels”), Pud being able to see Mr. Brink is not a plot hole. (From IMDB)

Genre Grandeur Worthy? – Absolutely! The premise is great as are the performances especially of Barrymore and Hardwicke.

Rating – Oscar Worthy (9/10)


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2 thoughts on “Genre Guesstimation – On Borrowed Time (1939)

  1. Pingback: Genre Grandeur November Finale – The Mermaids of 1948 – KN Winiarski Writes | MovieRob

  2. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1939 | MovieRob

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