|Index||4 reviews in total|
This is a quite short and minor film for movie great John Barrymore,
but one of his most engaging. He plays a ne'er-do-well man about town
who is currently managing a London nightclub. At a will reading he
comes to meet the daughter he has not seen in twenty years. She is now
an entertainer and at the behest of the nightclub owner, is induced,
against the father's wishes, to perform there. The father-daughter
relationship, at first very frosty, develops amusingly and charmingly.
Barrymore, capable, of course, of the great dramatic or romantic performance, is here wonderfully delightful, at times touchingly paternal, but never overly sentimental. As always, it is pure pleasure to hear his every line of dialog and to see the thoughts and emotions play upon his face. This is Barrymore lite, but a performance one can easily see again and again with enjoyment. His daughter, not expectedly a bit wild and eccentric, is perfectly played by Helen Chandler. She is best known for being in Dracula with Lugosi and Christopher Strong with Hepburn, but this is probably her best role. (Actually this is a part one can imagine John's grand-daughter Drew playing!) Miss Chandler, so believable as John Barrymore's daughter was, ironically, married to Bramwell Fletcher, who would later marry Barrymore's daughter.
The supporting cast, particularly Donald Cook as the boyfriend and Alan Mowbray as the nightclub owner, is very good. The direction (by King Kong veteran Ernest Schoedsack) is brisk and well-paced, even if the story meanders a bit. --- The major fault of the film is that there perhaps could be a bit more of it.
Long Lost Father meanders a bit but boasts two very nice performances
by stars John Barrymore and Helen Chandler. He plays a cad who
abandoned the family 20 years before but is reunited with his wayward
daughter through a series of bizarre coincidences. Indeed when they
meet outside a lawyer's office, they don't even know each other. The
film wavers between comedy and drama and never seems quite comfortable
in either genre.
But the film moves along briskly and offers a few very good scenes. Supporting players are interesting. The underused Donald Cook is good as the boyfriend. I always liked Cook but he never made much headway in Hollywood, usually playing the send lead. E.E. Clive is fun as the reformed crook now acting as a waiter. Tempe Pigott plays a bag lady who gets a big surprise in the pocket of a lord's pants. Alan Mowbray plays the rough lord. Natalie Moorhead plays the bleached blonde bimbo. Claude King plays the curious inspector. Doris Lloyd is a customer with an eye for Barrymore. Ferdinand Gottschalk is the feisty lawyer.
Barrymore, Chandler, and Cook are all very loose and good in this freewheeling film. Chandler is especially good. She usually plays limp leading ladies with little character other than being pretty. Here she is a spunky girl who sings and dances in a nightclub and hands back sass to Barrymore with glee. Cook is fun in his drunk scene with Chandler as they search for "an old woman-alive" as part of their treasure hunt.
Worth a look to see Barrymore and Chandler (best known for Dracula) before booze took its toll on their careers. Chandler made only 4 more films after this.
A kind of forgettable film, but Barrymore is, as usual, wonderful! Helen Chandler is also quite good and very lovely! Does anyone know why her career didn't go further? I definitely think she had what it takes!!!
Long Lost Father (1934)
** 1/2 (out of 4)
A deadbeat father (John Barrymore) leaves his daughter at a young age only to bump into her as an adult. He soon learns that she's partying and gets into some trouble so will he rise up and finally be a father? This is a rather strange film that plays for laughs the first 45-minutes and then goes for drama the final 20 and the two really don't mix well. Barrymore's comic timing is right on the mark and he keeps this thing going but his daughter is such a bitch you really can't care what happens to her. Another strange thing is that there are a couple weird moments in the film where Barrymore talks about how nice his daughter's legs are. Produced by Merian C. Cooper and directed by Ernest B. Schoedsack.
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