Twentieth Century

1934

Comedy / Romance

0
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 86%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 75%
IMDb Rating 7.4 10 5841

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
March 28, 2021 at 12:49 AM

Director

Cast

John Barrymore as Oscar Jaffe
Carole Lombard as Lily Garland formerly Mildred Plotka
Charles Lane as Max Jacobs
720p.BLU
838.19 MB
988*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 31 min
P/S counting...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Ron Oliver 10 / 10

Don't Close The Iron Door On This Classic

Down but not quite out, a megalomaniacal theatrical producer schemes to get his former star & lover back under contract during a wild ride on the TWENTIETH CENTURY Limited racing from Chicago to New York City.

Directed by Howard Hawks from an inspired script by Ben Hecht & Charles MacArthur, this is one of the seminal screwball comedies which would set the high-water mark for years to come - zany characters, living at a frenetic pace, throwing outrageous lines at each other. While the situations are completely unrealistic it makes no matter. Films like this were calculated to lift Depression audiences out of their troubles for an hour or so; today, we long for them to work that old magic again.

In a large & spirited cast there is one eminence, one name above the title, one peak ascending over the smaller hills. John Barrymore, a lifetime of theatrical history and private dissolution etched on his remarkable face, is a grade A ham as the unspeakable Oscar Jaffe, willing to break any convention, law or dogma to get what he wants. Cajoling, pleading, threatening, cooing like a dove, screeching like a banshee, Barrymore is utterly mad, unspeakably obnoxious & thoroughly delightful. He doesn't just dominate the film, he overwhelms it like a thick wave of brimstone & honey. Watching him infuriate his players by chalking their movements on the floor, disguise himself as an elderly Southern gentleman in order to sneak aboard the train, or arranging his own fake death scene to serve his egotistical ends, is to watch a master of the acting art play a comedic role worthy of him.

Carole Lombard is lovely, but completely overshadowed by Barrymore. Her character, while that of a great star, is pitched at a more normal tilt and exists to react to his enormities. While she's wonderful to watch, it's impossible to forget to whom the film really belongs.

The rest of the cast is first rate. Barrymore's two faithful factotums are played by dyspeptic Walter Connolly and sardonic, boozy Roscoe Karns, both of whom have learned to deal with The Master's dictums in different ways. Hatchet-faced Charles Lane plays a director who becomes Barrymore's theatrical blood rival. Edgar Kennedy burnishes his few scenes as a private eye who's no match for an enraged Lombard. Handsome Englishman Ralph Forbes plays against type as a spoiled society boy who thinks he's in love with Lombard. And for sheer looniness there's chittering little Etienne Girardot, playing a benignly mad gentleman wandering about the train plastering large REPENT stickers on every available surface.

Movie mavens will recognize Herman Bing & Lee Kohlmar as the uncredited & hilarious Passion Players from Oberammergau.

Reviewed by theowinthrop 10 / 10

One of the funniest sound movies ever made

If "The Lady With Red Hair" (about Mrs. Leslie Carter) gave us a good portrait of theatrical producer/director David Belasco (in the capable hands of Claude Rains), this film shows the ham side. Oscar Jaffe (John Barrymore) is based on Belasco, with his less attractive sides. Here is not the man who simply helped create proper modern stage production and rehearsal technique, but the egotistical side of him (the side Rains showed when he released all contacts to Leslie Carter -Miriam Hopkins in that film - when she dared to marry without his consent). Here Jaffe has created the actress sensation "Lily Garland" from an ambitious shop girl named Mildred Plotka (Carole Lombard). Jaffe has played a caring, fatherly Svengali to her, prodding her by caring, sweet, regretful terms to do what he wants (except they are rehearsing). But although - eventually - Lily is willing to become his lover, he is so jealous that he drives her to flee from him. He decides he can do it again, but falls on his face. She goes on to screen immortality in Hollywood. So he is forced to pull out all stops to get her back to a signed contract, when he learns she and he are traveling back to New York on the Twentieth Century train.

Howard Hawks would tackle farce several times in his career: "His Gal Friday", "I Was A Male War Bride", "Man's Favorite Sport" were all in the future. But this may have been the best of them. The other films have great choice moments, but this one is almost flawless from the start. Take the beginning when Jaffe brings the cast of his first play starring Lili. It is a piece of sentimental pap that Jaffe always produces (later on, before being dismissed by him, Charles Lane tells off Jaffe the truth that he produces hackwork and "gets away with it" because of Lili's talent). In fact, it is a spoof of a popular piece of melodrama from the late 1920s, "Coquette", which was turned into a film in 1929 (and netted Mary Pickford an Oscar, which she should have gotten for other films, such as "Sparrows"). The cast, including an African-American in a typical stereotype servant role of the period, have to go through several hours of rehearsing the first scene due to Mildred/Lily's failure to match Jaffe's exacting direction. What the overly controlling Jaffe does with stage blocking and a piece of chalk is a nightmare for anyone who has ever tried to produce or act in a play. He does, however, know about acting - he reminds Mildred/Lily that when she calls for "Daddy" in an old southern plantation house she is not to use a voice similar to calling "Taxi" in the street.

I won't go into the rest of the film, but wait for "the iron door" whose hinges get dingier and more rusted with each closing, or Barrymore's commentary on "the Passion Play". Lombard has a more subtle, reacting part, but she is Barrymore's equal partner, having the moment of reality at the center of the film: on the train, when after screaming at each other she breaks down and cries, and makes Jaffe realize that they have built themselves into an unhealthy universe where they can't be real people anymore. It's a brief, and touching moment - fortunately not destroying the sheer lovely nuttiness of the rest of the film.

Reviewed by funkyfry 9 / 10

Exceptionally good screwball comedy

Funny and intelligent comedy features a brilliant performance by Barrymore, spoofing his earlier "Svengali" role. He looks and acts a lot like Peter Sellars would in later similar performances; now morose, then practically jumping with energy. Lombard also turns in a right-on performance.

Here is a film where Hawks really finds his mark, because the comedic action is perfectly timed, flows nicely, and feels natural, and even includes some early Hawks "overlapping dialogue".

Hardly a dull moment, miles above its peers.

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