7.8/10
4,746
57 user 44 critic

Twentieth Century (1934)

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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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
...
Max Jacobs aka Max Mandelbaum (as Charles Levison)
Etienne Girardot ...
Mathew J. Clark
...
Sadie
...
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

Certificate:

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Details

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Language:

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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 allowed John Barrymore and Carole Lombard to improvise freely during filming. "When people are as good as those two, the idea of just sticking to lines is rather ridiculous," he told Peter Bogdanovich in an interview. "Because if Barrymore gets going, and he had the ability to do it, I'd just say, 'Go do it.' And Lombard would answer him; she was such a character, just marvelous." Hawks then told a story about Lombard coming to him one day to complain about studio head 'Harry Cohn' making passes at her. Between them, director and star worked out a plan to embarrass their boss. Hawks was in Cohn's office, having a serious discussion with him, when Lombard burst in to exclaim, "I've decided to say yes!" As Cohn watched in shock, she made as if to begin removing her clothes. Hawks said self-righteously, "I'd better get out of here if this is the kind of studio you run." A shaken Cohn asked Lombard to leave, and she never had any further problems with 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: I want to send another
[telegram]
Oscar Jaffe: . To John Ringling. "I'm in the market for 25 camels, several elephants, and an ibis... Give me the rock-bottom price."
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Connections

Featured in The Lady with the Torch (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Happy Days Are Here Again
(1929) (uncredited)
Music by Milton Ager
Lyrics by Jack Yellen
Sung a cappella by Walter Connolly
See more »

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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.


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