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The movie tells the true story of Diana Barrymore, a theatrical actress who acted on both stage and screen was once part of the legendary Barrymore family. Behind the cameras and backstage, Diana Barrymore would suffer through alcohol and drugs. Written by
In the opening Diana is seen reading a 1938 movie magazine with a young Errol Flynn on the cover. See more »
In actual life, Blanche Oelrichs aka Michael Strange, was the second of John Bayymore's four wives, the others of whom are talked about in Diana's book, but none of whom, apart from Strange, are even mentioned in the film. See more »
I feel like a small boy whose mother has dropped him off at school gor the first time.
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Too Much, Too Soon, the film adaption of Diana Barrymore's memoirs if things went right for her should have been a final chapter with a they lived happily ever after closing on her real existence. Sad to say though that the writing of the book as a cautionary tale to others to avoid her pitfalls, she still couldn't avoid them herself. Two years after To Much, Too Soon came out, Diana Barrymore died of all the years of accumulated indulgences of many vices.
Having never seen any of her work I'm really not in a position to comment, but assuming she was as bad as most seem to think she was, she never had an opportunity to really learn her craft. Because of her name and a couple of bit parts on stage she was rushed out to Hollywood and given the big buildup. When she flopped all she could do was trade in on the name.
Dorothy Malone after her Oscar winning role as the hedonistic heiress in Written On The Wind was perfect to play Diana who decided to explore all the vices in a desperate search for love. Being caught between two estranged parents she wasn't at home in either of their worlds. She was the offspring of John Barrymore and Blanche Oelrichs aka Michael Strange. It was the second marriage for both. Succeeding husbands and wives are not in this film, nor are her half brothers, sons of Oelrich from her first marriage. Blanche Oelrich had a succeeding marriage after Barrymore, and The Great Profile had two more wives after divorcing Diana's mother.
One thing that is very delicately hinted at with Kathleen Freeman's brief role is the lesbianism of Blanche Oelrich. After three marriages Blanche Oelrich had a relationship with a woman in the last years of her life. If Too Much, Too Soon were made today that would be more fully explained. Neva Patterson is a concerned Oelrich in this, a beautiful performance as a woman who can't reach her out of control daughter falling under the influence of her father.
Errol Flynn had quite a bit of life experience to draw on for playing John Barrymore. He knew Barrymore quite well in Hollywood and partied hearty with him as Barrymore died slowly of dissipation. Flynn was dying from it as well and he knew it. This has to be the only time in history where an actor was playing older than his years without makeup. Flynn was 49 playing a 60 year old Barrymore who was that when he died in 1942.
Diana had three husbands all different types played in succession by Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Ray Danton, and Ed Kemmer. She should have hung on to Zimbalist who was playing in actuality Bramwell Fletcher under a pseudonym. He leaves to go on a movie location and she starts fooling around with tennis bum/gigolo Ray Danton. He's great in the part of a truly sadistic evil man. As for number three, he was a bit actor who was as much an alcoholic as she and Kemmer and Malone were a bad combination, but great in their performances.
Too Much, Too Soon is very similar to a film Warner Brothers did the year before about another alcoholic performer, Helen Morgan. Morgan was a star and on talent, not starting at the top because of a name. Still she went through a few husbands and many a binge and the ending their was a cop out with the promise of a recovery which never happened in real life. Diana Barrymore's self destruction was down the same road Morgan took only she died after Too Much, Too Soon came out.
It should have ended better for Diana Barrymore. But Dorothy Malone brings her vividly to life and she's got a book and a film to commemorate what might have been.
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