Twentieth Century (1934)

 |  Comedy, Romance  |  11 May 1934 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 4,398 users  
Reviews: 56 user | 43 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.



(play), (screenplay), 5 more credits »
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Max Jacobs aka Max Mandelbaum (as Charles Levison)
Etienne Girardot ...
Mathew J. Clark
Dale Fuller ...
Edgar Kennedy ...
Oscar McGonigle
Billie Seward ...


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Romance


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Release Date:

11 May 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

20th Century  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Although contemporary and modern sources credit Edward Gargan with the role of the sheriff, it was played by James Burke, who is listed on the CBCS. See more »


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 »


Lily Garland, aka Mildred Plotka: Why do they keep hammering at me? Hammering and hammering...
See more »


Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #22.65 (2005) See more »


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

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User Reviews

One of the funniest of the 1930's comedies
18 September 1999 | by (Houston Texas) – See all my reviews

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").

17 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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