Wednesday, March 18, 2015

TWENTIETH CENTURY (1934)

Egomaniac Broadway director John Barrymore discovered and created Lily Garland. They become lovers, but after three years of his psychotic jealousy she splits for Hollywood and becomes a huge movie star. Back in New York, Barrymore has had nothing but flop after flop. He's desperate for a hit and deeply in debt when, during a train trip, he discovers that Lily Garland is in the very next cabin! Nothing in the world will stop him from signing her to his next play...that he hasn't even written yet.

I cannot say enough great things about this movie. There is just so much energy blasting off the screen you can't help but get pumped up just watching it. Pretty much the entire movie is just people screaming at each other. I'd be hard-pressed to think of another screwball comedy with so much non-stop screaming. Even after dozens of viewings I still grin ear to ear watching Barrymore's antics.

If you look on IMDb it has a couple of writers credited for the screenplay and one uncredited Preston Sturges. I'm curious just how much of the dialogue was actually written by Sturges cause it really has that rapid fire, everybody-screaming-at-once quality that he's so good at.

The other great thing is the cast. Everybody is perfect, especially John Barrymore. He's amazing, but Carole Lombard is right there with him toe-to-toe the entire movie. She's wonderful.  In fact, I think both of them are more deserving of the acting Academy Awards than Gable or Colbert were from IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT.  Best Picture also.  I really like IHON a lot, but TWENTIETH CENTURY is better.  It's a pure joy from beginning to end.  I cannot recommend it enough.  All fans of classic Hollywood should have a copy in their collection.
 Gigi Parrish was fine as Hell!  See...even John Barrymore agrees with me: