20th Century

John Barrymore in a publicity still for Twentieth Century

John Barrymore as stage director Oscar Jaffe in Twentieth Century (1934), his greatest performance in the sound era.  John was one of the biggest stars of the silent era, was known as The Great Profile, starring in action, romance and drama, but his film career was largely undistinguished.  He was also well cast in the all star Grand Hotel (1932), and as the second male lead in Billy Wilder’s Midnight (1939).

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20th Century

Carole Lombard and John Barrymore in a publicity still for Twentieth Century (1934), Howard Hawks’ first film for Columbia Studios.  Howard would work at every major studio throughout his career, never making more than three in a row at any one studio.

20th Century

Signed photo on the set of Twentieth Century from John Barrymore to Carole Lombard

John Barrymore autographed a publicity still for Carole Lombard from their work together on Twentieth Century (1934).  Carole’s career had been floundering until her big break with Howard Hawks.  After working with Hawks and Barrymore, Carole became the biggest comedienne in Hollywood until her untimely death in 1942.

20th Century

Oscar Jaffe with his minions on board the Twentieth Century (1934).  It was Howard Hawks’ first comedy, and demonstrated the versatility that characterized his career.  By 1934 Hawks had also distinguished himself in the gangster genre with Scarface, the action genre with The Dawn Patrol, and drama with The Criminal Code.  It would take him until 1948, though, to make a western masterpiece, with Red River.

20th Century

 

Carole Lombard and John Barrymore as Lily Garland and Oscar Jaffe in Twentieth Century (1934)

Oscar Jaffe, the hammy and narcissistic stage producer, and his leading lady Lily Garland in Twentieth Century (1934).

20th Century

John Barrymore and Carole Lombard are a perfect pair in Twentieth Century (1934).  Howard Hawks demonstrated here how he was able to create an enduring screen persona for the biggest Hollywood stars whom he would continue to showcase throughout his career.

20th Century

Carole Lombard shows off her legs in a pre-code publicity still with John Barrymore for Twentieth Century (1934)

20th Century

Carole Lombard and John Barrymore in Twentieth Century (1934).  John was considered one of the greatest actors and stars of the silent era, and was nicknamed The Great Profile.  His career in sound films was generally unrewarding, with Twentieth Century his only great star vehicle.  He was also well cast in Grand Hotel (1932) which is more of an ensemble piece, and Midnight (1939) as a supporting player in a Billy Wilder script.

20th Century

Carole Lombard and John Barrymore on board the 20th Century Limited. the railroad’s finest transportation of the day, in Twentieth Century (1934) at a time when popular air travel was still in its infancy.

20th Century

behind the scenes of Twentieth Century (1934) with Etienne Girardot, John Barrymore, Carole Lombard, and Roscoe Karns.

20th Century

The battle of the sexes is between stage director Oscar Jaffe and his star creation Lily Garland in Twentieth Century (1934)

20th Century

Carole Lombard barely keeps it covered in a pre code publicity still for Twentieth Century (1934) with John Barrymore.