- Described as the template for screwball comedy, “TWENTIETH CENTURY”(1934) has John Barrymore as Broadway director Oscar Jaffe who needs to get his former star, Lily Garland (Carole Lombard ) to work for him again) .
- Lily is now a big Hollywood star and is travelling on the Twentieth Century Limited between Chicago and New York.
Dare I say I havent seen “Twentieth Century”. Looking it up on IMDB, is it ‘one of the funniest movies ever made’, or ‘a snooze- inducing bore’?
You tell me!
Lombard and Hawks on the set.
Carole Lombard and John Barrymore both died in 1942. Carole was 33, John was 60.
Dipping into the history of “Twentieth Century”, I discovered it was originally a 1932 Broadway play which starred Scottish actor Moffat Johnston as ‘Oscar Jaffe’ , and a Russian actress, Eugenie Leonotovich as ‘Lily Garland’.
Eugenie Leontovich was married to Gregory Ratoff . She originated the role Garbo played in GRAND HOTEL.
Robert Preston and Binnie Barnes in a 1952 Broadway production, taking over from Jose Ferrer and Gloria Swanson.
Fredric March and Lilli Palmer also did the play, while in 1966, Betty Grable and Orson Welles appeared on television.
In 1978, composer Cy Coleman and writers Betty Comden and Adolph Green turned the play into a musical which I saw – several times- in London in 1980, with stars Julia McKenzie and Keith Michell .
The original Broadway stars of the musical in 1978 were John Cullum and Madeline Kahn.
This is one of my top five stage musicals and I think if I watched the 1934 film, I might be waiting for a song to begin!
The new standard blu-Ray of TWENTIETH CENTURY , coming out on 24th April, 2023, is from Powerhouse Films, a U.K. company which only sells blu discs.
Their Indicator series bring out limited edition box sets and single discs. When these editions are sold out, standard editions are issued ( generally with less extras).
Although most releases are Region B, they do have some region free titles.
Here are some of the Indicator titles. ( their website is Powerhousefilms.co.U.K.)