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Twentieth Century (1934)

 -  Comedy | Romance  -  11 May 1934 (USA)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 4,055 users  
Reviews: 53 user | 42 critic

A flamboyant Broadway impresario who has fallen on hard times tries to get his former lover, now a Hollywood diva, to return and resurrect his failing career.

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Title: Twentieth Century (1934)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Ralph Forbes ...
George Smith
...
Max Jacobs aka Max Mandelbaum (as Charles Levison)
Etienne Girardot ...
Mathew J. Clark
Dale Fuller ...
Sadie
Edgar Kennedy ...
Oscar McGonigle
Billie Seward ...
Anita
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Storyline

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 <daneldorado@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

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Details

Country:

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|

Release Date:

11 May 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

20th Century  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Howard Hawks was concerned when Carole Lombard could not perform the kicking scene very well. Hawks took her out for a walk and recalls, "I asked her how much money she was getting for this picture. She told me and I said, 'What would you say if I told you you'd earned your whole salary this morning and didn't have to act anymore?' And she was stunned. So I said, 'Now forget about the scene. What would you do if someone said such and such to you?' And she said, 'I'd kick him in the balls.' And I said, 'Well, he (John Barrymore) said something like that - why don't you kick him?' She said, 'Are you kidding?' And I said, 'No.'" Hawks ended the conversation with, "Now we're going back in and make this scene and you kick, and you do any damn thing that comes into your mind that's natural, and quit acting. If you don't quit, I'm going to fire you this afternoon." Hawks' white lies did the trick, and the scene was filmed. In addition, Hawks claimed that after that, Lombard never began another movie without sending him a telegram that read, "I'm gonna start kicking him." See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Oscar Jaffe: They are the only true actors we have left. Not like our cheap Broadway hams.
See more »

Connections

Featured in All the Rage (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Happy Days Are Here Again
(1929)
Music by Milton Ager
Lyrics by Jack Yellen
Sung a cappella by Walter Connolly
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User Reviews

 
Exceptionally good screwball comedy
6 November 2002 | by (Oakland CA) – See all my reviews

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.


14 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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