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Broadway director Oscar Jaffe (John Barrymore) is a bigger ham than most actors, but through sheer drive and talent he is able to build a successful career. When one of his discoveries, Lily Garland (Carole Lombard), rises to stardom and heeds the call of Hollywood, Oscar begins a career slide. He hits the skids and seems on his way out, until he chances to meet Lily again, on a train ride aboard the Twentieth Century Limited. Oscar pulls out all the stops to re-sign his former star, but it's a battle... because Lily, who is as temperamental as Oscar is, wants to have nothing to do with her former mentor. Written by
Dan Navarro <email@example.com>
When Jaffe takes over direction, he addresses Lily by her new name and she responds, even though she hasn't heard it before. This gap was caused by the deletion of a brief scene in which O'Malley informs her that Jaffe has changed her name. See more »
I have seen Twentieth Century several times and even quote one of the great Barrymore lines: After me, she's mousing around with that boy?
Barrymore succeeds so well in this film since he is parodying himself. He exaggerates and the voice is used like a singer who scoops the bottom and then rises an octave or two. It is great fun to hear him ham-up the lines. Lombard matches him in her own fashion and together they create a great comedy team. Unfortunately it is a one-time gag: there are just so many times an actor can parody himself without repeating or ruining any serious moments he might try in another film. (--or herself as Tallulah learned when she tried to perform "Streetcar Named Desire").
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