Twentieth Century Reviews

  • Mar 25, 2019

    Essentially boring and hard to watch because of its repetition -- the screaming back and forth between Lombard and Barrymore. This has the distinction of loosening Barrymore up and presenting both the principals to the public as different personas, but as a film, it's below average.

    Essentially boring and hard to watch because of its repetition -- the screaming back and forth between Lombard and Barrymore. This has the distinction of loosening Barrymore up and presenting both the principals to the public as different personas, but as a film, it's below average.

  • Jan 26, 2019

    The best comedy movie ever made!

    The best comedy movie ever made!

  • Oct 30, 2015

    I've never seen a movie with more hammy acting in my life. Lombard and Barrymore take over the entire picture, mostly screaming and being very theatrical like divas. There isn't a lot of jokes, but sometimes there's a chuckle here and there.

    I've never seen a movie with more hammy acting in my life. Lombard and Barrymore take over the entire picture, mostly screaming and being very theatrical like divas. There isn't a lot of jokes, but sometimes there's a chuckle here and there.

  • May 06, 2015

    Strong comedic turn by John Barrymore. Lombard delightful to watch. Great story and fine supporting cast.

    Strong comedic turn by John Barrymore. Lombard delightful to watch. Great story and fine supporting cast.

  • Apr 01, 2015

    Starring John Barrymore and Carole Lombard. Required viewing because this film, along with Frank Capra's "It Happened One Night," this was the film that defined screwball comedy and sparked a craze for the genre that would continue throughout the '30s. Born of the depression, the genre kidded the privileged class by making them seem more than a little crazy, and their antics were enacted by madly stylish actors moving at a furious pace through often ridiculous situations. This was the film in which Howard Hawks introduced what would become a trademark style of delivering comic dialogue -- at breakneck speed, barely pausing to take a breath. Director Hawks also took credit for turning a movie's romantic leads into out-and-out comics for the first time; and, indeed, in Twentieth Century John Barrymore and Carole Lombard clown their way through a pair of the funniest and most entertaining star turns of the 1930s. It was his final great film performance, and her first.

    Starring John Barrymore and Carole Lombard. Required viewing because this film, along with Frank Capra's "It Happened One Night," this was the film that defined screwball comedy and sparked a craze for the genre that would continue throughout the '30s. Born of the depression, the genre kidded the privileged class by making them seem more than a little crazy, and their antics were enacted by madly stylish actors moving at a furious pace through often ridiculous situations. This was the film in which Howard Hawks introduced what would become a trademark style of delivering comic dialogue -- at breakneck speed, barely pausing to take a breath. Director Hawks also took credit for turning a movie's romantic leads into out-and-out comics for the first time; and, indeed, in Twentieth Century John Barrymore and Carole Lombard clown their way through a pair of the funniest and most entertaining star turns of the 1930s. It was his final great film performance, and her first.

  • Feb 01, 2015

    Early screwball comedy with John Barrymore and Carol Lombard having great comedic chemistry. Grade: B+

    Early screwball comedy with John Barrymore and Carol Lombard having great comedic chemistry. Grade: B+

  • Aug 10, 2014

    A bit dated, but good comedy is timeless. The last third is the funniest part.

    A bit dated, but good comedy is timeless. The last third is the funniest part.

  • Dec 27, 2013

    This is a great satire on Broadway theatre, pre-dating Lombard's roles in Nothing Sacred and To Be or Not to Be, and Joe Mankiewicz's masterpiece, All About Eve. Some may find it a bit one-note and frantic - thanks to scriptwriter Ben Hecht and director Howard Hawks, the pace never lets up. Nobody could play the vainglorious producer better than John Barrymore - in a lesser actor's hands, Oscar Jaffe would simply be a monster, but Barrymore brings a certain poignancy to the role. Carole Lombard more than holds her own as his protegee, a shopgirl turned stage diva in one of the first great screwball comedies; a genre with which she (and Hawks) will forever be associated. And the supporting cast are also sublime.

    This is a great satire on Broadway theatre, pre-dating Lombard's roles in Nothing Sacred and To Be or Not to Be, and Joe Mankiewicz's masterpiece, All About Eve. Some may find it a bit one-note and frantic - thanks to scriptwriter Ben Hecht and director Howard Hawks, the pace never lets up. Nobody could play the vainglorious producer better than John Barrymore - in a lesser actor's hands, Oscar Jaffe would simply be a monster, but Barrymore brings a certain poignancy to the role. Carole Lombard more than holds her own as his protegee, a shopgirl turned stage diva in one of the first great screwball comedies; a genre with which she (and Hawks) will forever be associated. And the supporting cast are also sublime.

  • Nov 20, 2013

    Boy, what a riot that was.

    Boy, what a riot that was.

  • Jan 05, 2013

    We saw this as part of the BFI Screwball movie season, it was so great to watch this classic old film with other movie buffs, it's a hilarious romp, and not dated really, people are the same now as they were then.

    We saw this as part of the BFI Screwball movie season, it was so great to watch this classic old film with other movie buffs, it's a hilarious romp, and not dated really, people are the same now as they were then.