7.5/10
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63 user 48 critic

Twentieth Century (1934)

A flamboyant Broadway impresario who has fallen on hard times tries to get his former lover, now a Hollywood diva, to return and resurrect his failing career.

Director:

Howard Hawks

Writers:

Charles Bruce Millholland (play), Ben Hecht (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Barrymore ... Oscar Jaffe
Carole Lombard ... Lily Garland formerly Mildred Plotka
Walter Connolly ... Oliver Webb
Roscoe Karns ... Owen O'Malley
Ralph Forbes ... George Smith
Charles Lane ... Max Jacobs (as Charles Levison)
Etienne Girardot ... Matthew J. Clark
Dale Fuller ... Sadie
Edgar Kennedy ... Oscar McGonigle
Billie Seward ... Anita
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Storyline

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 <daneldorado@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

11 May 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

20th Century See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

There were some problems with the censors during filming, with industry watchdogs made nervous about religious angles in the film's humour. Joseph Breen, who ran the Hays Office, predicted "serious difficulty in inducing an anti-Semitic public to accept a [motion picture] play produced by an industry believed to be Jewish in which the Passion Play is used for comedy purposes." One line from this sequence was removed at Breen's request, and the Office also requested that it be made "less clear" exactly where Oscar jabs Lily with a pin during one of their skirmishes. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Oscar Jaffe: Go on, Owen... tell her I'm dying... and DON'T OVERACT!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Whole Wide World (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Happy Days Are Here Again
(1929) (uncredited)
Music by Milton Ager
Lyrics by Jack Yellen
Sung a cappella by Walter Connolly
See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of the funniest of the 1930's comedies
18 September 1999 | by Dick-108See all my reviews

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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