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Barrymore lampoons himself. A famous actor, given to drink, nearly destroys the show, but his leading lady returns to save it. Meanwhile a young girl tries to reform him. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
Barrymore hams it up...deliberately...but film is still trivial...
THE GREAT PROFILE is not much more than JOHN BARRYMORE spoofing himself as an actor who can only inspire an audience when he's drunk. Otherwise, the feeble play he's in doesn't do anything to keep the audience awake.
What makes the film a point of curious interest more than anything else, is watching Barrymore reading his lines from cue cards off screen--something he did in many a film made before and after this one. By this time, it became a necessity if the director wanted to get the film in on budget.
MARY BETH HUGHES is his sassy blonde wife, one of those actresses from the '40s who was always cast as "the beautiful blonde with attitude" and ANNE BAXTER makes an early appearance at seventeen, already a capable enough actress as a woman who has faith in promoting the actor when her play is successful, but only when he's in the cups. Barrymore's only reason for agreeing to perform in her play is based purely on the money she offers to back it. And that, essentially, is the plot, with Barrymore insisting that his wife play opposite him.
I was never a John Barrymore fan and all I can say is that he confirms his "ham" status with his role here. It's hard to discern any difference between his acting when he's playing "Hamlet" (in true ham fashion) or acting as himself. And unfortunately, his is not the only weary performance it's a strain to watch. GREGORY RATOFF, as his fast-talking manager, seems to have been struck by the same bug.
As the young playwright, ANNE BAXTER gives the only calmly underplayed performance, although her patience with the overwhelming Barrymore is hard to find credible. And to his credit, JOHN PAYNE shows a flair for comedy in a thankless supporting role.
The plot is a silly one with Barrymore making a complete burlesque of his role--and the others not far behind. It's hard to take any of this seriously enough to warrant more than casual attention.
Tedium sets in after the first fifteen minutes and it never lets up.
Summing up: Easy to skip. Between Ratoff and Barrymore, too much ham.
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