During the Great Depression, a wealthy banker throws away his wife's expensive fur coat; it lands on the head of a stenographer, leading to everyone assuming she is his mistress and has access to his millions.
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Howard Hawks said later that he lost one day of shooting because of John Barrymore's drinking - but the actor volunteered to work two days for free to make up for his delinquency. He was generally a model of cooperation, taking direction well while also making suggestions of his own about adding to the comedy of the film. He devised the Kentucky Colonel disguise Jaffe uses to sneak aboard the train, and invented comic bits of business involving the nose putty he used. 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 »
It's typical of my career that in the great crises of life, I should stand flanked by two incompetent alcoholics.
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One of the top 10 screwball comedies from the 30's
The screwball comedy began in the early thirties and went out of fashion before the second world war. The Twentieth Century of 1934 is a first class screwball comedy especially written for Barrymore who fits the role like a leather glove. The style however is too smart for the general movie consumer outside of large cities like New York where there is real cosmopolitan theater. Lombard is total perfection and excellent opposite to Barrymore. They are funny and dramatic with perfect exact timing seldom seen in film today. One of Howard Hawks extremely over looked movies but will hopefully change now with a new generation. A zany comedy which barely pauses for any kind of romance but is about romance. If you are one of those who love the silver screen and crazy screwball comedy genre of the 30's this is a must.
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