John Barrymore

John Barrymore

Highest Rated: 100% Maytime (1937)

Lowest Rated: 60% That's Entertainment, Part 2 (1976)

Birthday: Invalid date

Birthplace: Not Available

Like his brother Lionel and his sister Ethel, American actor John Barrymore had early intentions to break away from the family theatrical tradition and become an artist, in the "demonic" style of Gustav Doré. But acting won out; thanks to his natural flair and good looks, Barrymore was a matinee idol within a few seasons after his 1903 stage debut. His best-known Broadway role for many years was as an inebriated wireless operator in the Dick Davis farce The Dictator. On stage and in silent films (including a 1915 version of The Dictator), John was most at home in comedies. His one chance for greatness occurred in 1922, when he played Hamlet; even British audiences hailed Barrymore's performance as one of the best, if not the best, interpretation of the melancholy Dane. Eventually, Barrymore abandoned the theatre altogether for the movies, where he was often cast more for his looks than his talent. Perhaps in revenge against Hollywood "flesh peddlers," Barrymore loved to play roles that required physical distortion, grotesque makeup, or all-out "mad" scenes; to him, his Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde (1920) was infinitely more satisfying than Don Juan (1926). When talkies came in, Barrymore's days as a romantic lead had passed, but his exquisite voice and superb bearing guaranteed him stronger film roles than he'd had in silents; still, for every Grand Hotel (1932), there were the gloriously hammy excesses of Moby Dick (1930) and Svengali (1931). Unfortunately, throughout his life, Barrymore was plagued by his taste for alcohol, and his personal problems began catching up with him in the mid-1930s. From Romeo and Juliet(1936) onward, the actor's memory had become so befuddled that he had to recite his lines from cue cards, and from The Great Profile (1940) onward, virtually the only parts he'd get were those in which he lampooned his screen image and his offstage shenanigans. In 1939, at the behest of his latest wife Elaine Barrie, Barrymore returned to the stage in My Dear Children, a second-rate play that evolved into a freak show as Barrymore's performance deteriorated and he began profanely ad-libbing, and behaving outrageously during the play's run. Sadly, the more Barrymore debased himself in public, the more the public ate it up, and My Dear Children was a hit, as were his humiliatingly hilarious appearances on Rudy Vallee's radio show. To paraphrase his old friend and drinking companion Gene Fowler, Barrymore had gone over Niagara Falls in a barrel; we are lucky indeed that he left a gallery of brilliant film portrayals before the fall.


Highest Rated Movies



No Score Yet Judy Garland's Hollywood Actor 1997
60% That's Entertainment, Part 2 Actor 1976
No Score Yet Yesterday And Today Actor 1953
No Score Yet Playmates John Barrymore 1941
No Score Yet The Invisible Woman Prof. Gibbs 1940
92% Midnight George Flammarion 1939
No Score Yet The Great Man Votes Vance 1939
No Score Yet The Green Goddess Actor 1939
No Score Yet Land of Liberty Actor 1939
No Score Yet Hold That Co-Ed Governor 1938
No Score Yet Marie Antoinette King Louis XV 1938
No Score Yet Spawn of the North Windy 1938
No Score Yet Bulldog Drummond's Peril Col. Neilson 1938
No Score Yet Romance in the Dark Zoltan Jason 1938
No Score Yet Bulldog Drummond's Revenge Col. J.A. Nielson 1937
No Score Yet Bulldog Drummond Comes Back Col. Neilson 1937
No Score Yet True Confession Charles "Charley" Jasper 1937
100% Maytime Nicolai Nazaroff 1937
78% Romeo and Juliet Mercutio 1936
88% Twentieth Century Oscar Jaffe 1934
100% Counsellor at Law George Simon 1933
No Score Yet Night Flight Riviere 1933
95% Dinner at Eight Larry Renault 1933
60% Rasputin and the Empress Prince Paul Chegodieff 1933
No Score Yet Topaze Professor Auguste A. Topaze 1933
No Score Yet Arsene Lupin Duke of Charmerace 1932
86% Grand Hotel Baron von Gaigern 1932
No Score Yet A Bill of Divorcement Hilary Fairfield 1932
83% Svengali Svengali 1931
No Score Yet The Mad Genius Vladimar Ivan Tsarakov 1931
No Score Yet State's Attorney Tom Cardigan 1931
No Score Yet Moby Dick Capt. Ahab 1930
No Score Yet The Man from Blankley's Lord Strathpeffer 1930
No Score Yet The Show Of Shows Actor 1929
No Score Yet Eternal Love Marcus Paltram 1929
No Score Yet Tempest Sgt. Ivan Markov 1928
No Score Yet When A Man Loves Chevalier Fabien des Grieux 1927
No Score Yet The Beloved Rogue Francois Villon 1927
100% Don Juan Don Juan 1926
No Score Yet The Sea Beast Ahab Ceeley 1926
No Score Yet Beau Brummel Gordon Bryon `Beau' Brummel 1924
67% Sherlock Holmes Sherlock Holmes 1922
92% Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde 1920
No Score Yet Raffles, the Amateur Cracksman A.J. Raffles 1917


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