A newspaper man, his ignored fiancée, and his former employee a down on his luck reporter hatch an elaborate scheme to turn a false news story into the truth, to stop a high-society woman from suing for libel.
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>
"Twentieth Century" was adapted from a Broadway play by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur. It opened Dec. 29, 1932 at the Broadhurst Theatre in New York and ran for 152 performances. The play "Twentieth Century" was adapted from an unproduced play "Napoleon of Broadway" by Charles Bruce Millholland, based on Millholland's experiences working for legendary eccentric theater producer David Belasco. 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 »
What do you know about talent? What do you know about the theatre? What do you know about genius? What do you know about anything, you... bookkeeper!
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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").
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