Twentieth Century (1934)


The absolutely wonderful Carole Lombard is the subject of the much-anticipated blogathon hosted by Crystal from In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood, and since I’m a gigantic fan, I immediately signed up for it. I decided to go for a movie that is just ridiculously hilarious and criminally underrated: Howard Hawks’ Twentieth Century (1934).

Oscar Jaffe (John Barrymore) is a Broadway empresario who is ever so slightly insane. He casts Lily Garland (Carole Lombard) in his newest production, and she becomes an overnight sensation. Together, the two of them rule Broadway, producing hit after hit, even if they drive each other crazy behind the scenes. After a while, Lily decides to go to Hollywood. She becomes a movie star and Jaffe is lost without her. He decides that he needs to get on the 20th Century train to Hollywood and bring her back. What he doesn’t know is that she is on the same train… And thus begins the wackiest train journey you’ll ever see in a movie. Trust me on this.

Twentieth Century is the craziest screwball comedy of all – arguably, I mean, look at the competition! -, and that’s mostly due to the performances of Carole Lombard and John Barrymore. The two of them make one heck of a duo! John Barrymore gives one of the best performances of his career (I still can’t believe he wasn’t nominated for an Oscar), and Carole Lombard…. Well, Carole Lombard is just a comedy genius. Inviable comic timing, flawless delivery and the best facial expressions. Not to mention, the funniest crier! She was so naturally funny, you kind of go like ‘just HOW does she do it?’. She was, without a doubt, one of the greatest comediennes who ever lived and quite possibly my all-time favorite. I mean, is it even possible not to love her?

If you want to read the other entries on the blogathon, click here and have fun!

11 thoughts on “Twentieth Century (1934)

  1. Pingback: CAROLE LOMBARD: THE PROFANE ANGEL BLOGATHON HAS NOW ARRIVED – In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood.

  2. Oscar Jaffe is an unforgettable character. You used the word “hysterical” and that is the only way to describe this crazy movie.

    Comden and Green (Singin’ in the Rain), along with Cy Coleman wrote a musical version for Broadway in the 70s called On the Twentieth Century. Madeline Kahn played Lily and John Cullum won a Tony as Oscar. It has been revived twice. In 2015 Kristen Chenoweth played Lily.

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  3. I really need to watch this one again. When I watched it the first time I knew it was a big deal but had trouble seeing why (I was the same with Godfrey which I now love).

    Thanks for participating in this celebration of Carole’s life!! Sorry it has taken been so long to comment. It’s been a crazy week 🙂

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  4. Hey Carol.

    Thanks so much for participating in the blogathon, and I’m really sorry for the late reply. I’ve been away visiting family, and haven’t been back for long. I loved your post, and I agree with you all the way about Carole being a genius. She was a virtuoso of the screwball comedy genre, and her flair for comedy is simply unsurpassable. “Twentieth Century” is my all time favorite Carole movie, and its a perfect showcase for her talents. Thanks again.

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  5. Sadly, Carole Lombard left us far too soon. But we are so fortunate that we can enjoy her inspired performance as Lily Garland. Directed by the marvellous Howard Hawks, both Lombard and John Barrymore are truly a joy to behold. Other superb Hawk’s comedies include, of course, Bringing Up Baby from 1938 and His Girl Friday from 1941. As screwball comedies go, Twentieth Century set a very high standard. Bravo!!

    Liked by 1 person

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