A young man falls in love with a girl from a rich family. His unorthodox plan to go on holiday for the early years of his life is met with skepticism by everyone except for his fiancée's eccentric sister and long-suffering brother.
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 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 »
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 »
O.J., suppose - just hypothetically, of course - that you, Mr. Bromo, could get together again with Miss Seltzer.
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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??
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