During the Great Depression, a wealthy banker throws away his wife's expensive fur coat; it lands on the head of a stenographer, leading to everyone assuming she is his mistress and has access to his millions.
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 in order to prevent 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>
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 »
When the man kneels in front of Jaffe and calls him Maestro, the position of the man's hands change between shots. See more »
John Barrymore is in rare form in Twentieth Century (1934), Howard Hawks's hilarious, fast-paced screwball comedy. He plays flamboyant Broadway director-producer Oscar Jaffe, a man for whom the whole world is truly a stage. The always enchanting Carole Lombard co-stars as Mildred Plotka/Lily Garland. (Oscar demanded the name change because Mildred Plotka isn't nearly as glamorous sounding as Lily Garland.) Mildred, an aspiring Broadway actress, is remade by Oscar into a star of the New York stage. For three years he directs her plays, guides her career, and is her lover. But after they have a big disagreement, she takes off for Hollywood. Her career soars; his plummets. Time passes and then on board the Twentieth Century heading for Grand Central Station, they meet again. As usual in a Hawks film, the supporting cast is outstanding; and Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur's screenplay is one of their finest.
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