53 user 38 critic

Man of the Century (1999)

Fantasy-comedy about a young man who lives as if it is 1928 or so, and his encounters with modern-day women and modern-day criminals.


Adam Abraham

On Disc

at Amazon

5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Gibson Frazier ... Johnny Twennies
Cara Buono ... Virginia Clemens
Ian Edwards ... Clarence
Brian Davies ... Victor Young
Susan Egan ... Samantha Winter
Yul Vazquez ... Brooding Artist
Dwight Ewell Dwight Ewell ... Richard Lancaster
Brian Kite Brian Kite ... Messenger
David Margulies ... Mr. Meyerscholtz
Anthony Rapp ... Timothy Burns
Alfred Hyslop Alfred Hyslop ... Public Official
David Anzuelo ... Degenerate
Sean Patrick Reilly ... Reporter
Alan Davidson Alan Davidson ... Tyrus
Kevin Weisman ... Squibb


Johnny Twennies, a newspaper columnist in present-day New York, is a jauntily cheerful, very friendly, totally honest and upstanding young man who happens to be completely oblivious to any technological or social changes in the past 70 years. He routinely uses telegrams, a manual typewriter, and a manual toaster, and to the pleasure and despair of his girlfriend conducts his personal life in correspondingly anachronistic style. One day he's threatened by criminals who want to plant a false news story. But they've never met anyone like him before... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Meet Yesterday's Answer to the World of Today. See more »


Comedy | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »





Italian | Chinese | English

Release Date:

24 January 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Johnny Twennies See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,724, 31 October 1999, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$33,031, 14 November 1999
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Feature film debut of Gibson Frazier, who portrays Johnny Twennies. See more »


Johnny promises his editor that he will scoop the Journal American. Johnny's character is set in the 1920s, but the New York Journal American, a Hearst newspaper, did not exist until 1937, after the merger of two Hearst newspapers, the New York Journal, and the New York American. See more »


Johnny Twennies: When you get slapped, you'll take it and like it!
See more »


References Dick Tracy (1990) See more »


Vesti la giubba
from 'Pagliacci"
Written by Ruggero Leoncavallo
Performed by Frank Gorshin
See more »

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User Reviews

A Unique Experience: An Old-movie-lovers Movie
4 October 1999 | by jeanie-5See all my reviews

"Man of the Century" is inspired by silent comedies, early talking movies, vaudeville, and old RKO films.

It gives us a light-hearted look at the different ways in which cultural mores are portrayed in the 1920's and in the 1990's. The opening sequence has the look of the earliest films -- complete with scratches and grainy images and the jerkiness of old home movies. The rest of the film is in high-quality black and white with fine camera work. The film is co-written by Adam Abraham (who also directs) and Gibson Frazier (who stars in the title role as Johnny Twennies).

Johnny Twennies writes a column for a New York newspaper. The time is the 1990's, but Johnny is clearly living in the 1920's. We hear 1920's cliches from him and 1990's cliches from others. Johnny's tenacious innocence is refreshing and quite funny beside Samantha Winter's (Susan Egan) modern day social values. It is funny to hear Johnny swear with words like Applesauce! and Rats! while also hearing the ubiquitous use of f___ing by the others on

screen. The "endless stairs" is a brilliant sequence that breaks up the fast-talking dialogue. Since I love to dance, I was particularly overjoyed with a dance number with Johnny and Samantha dancing the Charlston while the others who are clearly older were dancing the jitterbug and swing and other more modern dances. Johnny's dance partner / leading lady is played impeccably by Susan Egan.

The film is face-paced. I know that I missed many of the innuendos and jokes. I love old movies, but I am not a student of those films or times. I found much pleasure in the experience even though I missed the significance of many one-liners. I also found that I had to adjust to the initial few minutes, first wondering if I was going to have to sit through 80 minutes of scratched film and then wondering what year it was because of the juxtaposition of modern cars and archaic language. About six persons left the audience in a group of about 100-120 individuals who were in an advance screening of the movie. Most of those who stayed were thoroughly engrossed in the film and applauded at the end.

It is similar in many ways to the "Purple Rose of Cairo" and "Pleasantville" in that it carries the charm of someone out of the current time or environment, frozen in another time and culture. Gestures, language, and tempo can be best compared to early films as a whole rather than to a specific film.

"Man of the Century" won the audience award at the 1999 Slamdance Film Festival. If the team of Abraham and Frazier can create another film of comparable quality in a different genre, they will make an enormous contribution to film making.

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