56 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.



(play), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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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
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 <daneldorado@yahoo.com>

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
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Did You Know?


Columbia negotiated with Herman J. Mankiewicz to work on the film. There is no confirmation that Mankiewicz worked on the script 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 »


Oscar Jaffe: I want to send another
Oscar Jaffe: . To John Ringling. "I'm in the market for 25 camels, several elephants, and an ibis... Give me the rock-bottom price."
See more »


Featured in Precious Images (1986) See more »


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

The first O.J.!
7 August 2000 | by (nyc) – See all my reviews

Nobody gets decapitated, however, as the acronym here stands for Oscar Jaffe. 66 years on, TWENTIETH remains a perfect comedy and a wonderful movie. Howard Hawks' hand is evident, though subtly, in the many ingenious setups and camera movements. Wisely, for the most part he's content to let the play be the thing, blessed as he was with a brilliantly funny property and cast. You all know about Barrymore's ego-monster producer and Lombard as his diva-protege, but not enough has been written in praise of the crack support of Roscoe Karns, Walter Connolly, Charles Lane and unforgettable Etienne Girardot. Of course, Barrymore outshines them all, with his 'iron-door' pronunciamentos, his acting out every role in the antebellum play he's staging, and even his unforgettable enunciation of the name 'Max Mandelbaum'. They don't make 'em like this any more, but the hard fact is they didn't often make 'em like this back then, either. Why are you reading this when you could be renting the video??

24 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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