Twentieth Century

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Overview

Sad to say, this DVD dates from the time before the major studios' video divisions believed it either necessary or desirable to issue discs with any extras. The disc opens to a simple two-layer menu offering the "play" option in the default position, access to English and Japanese subtitles, and to a dozen chapters. The full-screen image (1.33-to-1) on Howard Hawks' 1934 screwball comedy looks good enough -- despite some grain, and a little flicker in the light levels here and there, and some speckling and other ...
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Overview

Sad to say, this DVD dates from the time before the major studios' video divisions believed it either necessary or desirable to issue discs with any extras. The disc opens to a simple two-layer menu offering the "play" option in the default position, access to English and Japanese subtitles, and to a dozen chapters. The full-screen image (1.33-to-1) on Howard Hawks' 1934 screwball comedy looks good enough -- despite some grain, and a little flicker in the light levels here and there, and some speckling and other minor damage in a few places, for a 1934 feature it has translated well visually to the digital format. The audio is a little less successful, mastered at a very, very low volume, as was often the case in the early days of DVDs -- this reviewer had to boost the volume on his monitor to almost triple its usual setting in order to get the disc to a normal playback level. The paltry 12 chapters also speak of neglect, which is echoed by the absence of any bonus features, other than a set of coming attractions (a fine looking trailer for Strangers When We Meet, a less good looking one for the 1955 musical of My Sister Eileen, and a terrible condition trailer for You Were Never Lovelier). As much as any other movie that Hawks ever made, Twentieth Century more than begs for a commentary track that would offer discussions about the director, screenwriters Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, and stars Carole Lombard and John Barrymore (not to mention second bananas Roscoe Karns and Walter Connelly, both of whom were even more visible -- and are better-remembered today -- for their work in another Columbia production of the same period, Frank Capra's It Happened One Night). But as far as it goes, this is a decent if uninspired document of the movie.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; [None specified]
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
Adapted by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur from their Broadway play, Howard Hawks's Twentieth Century (1934) paired John Barrymore and Carole Lombard in a prickly romance that helped usher in the heyday of 1930s screwball comedy. Poking fun at his master thespian image, Barrymore's hammy Broadway impresario Oscar alternately threatens to shut "the Iron Door" on his associates or kill himself to get his way, but ultra-spirited Lombard as shopgirl-Mildred-turned-diva-Lily proves his equal in acting chops and screen strength. With most of the action confined to the eponymous train, Oscar's machinations to get the estranged Lily to star in his next show rise in hysterical pitch as the quarters get increasingly close, culminating in another Oscar death spectacle for an audience of passengers. Swiftly paced by Hawks, the rapid-fire jokes and arguments never let up, setting the standard for the genre's speed and humor. With equally superb supporting performances from Walter Connolly and Roscoe Karns, Twentieth Century became a box office hit, turning Lombard into a star comedienne and joining It Happened One Night (1934) as the prototype for the screwball genre.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/22/2005
  • UPC: 043396106710
  • Original Release: 1934
  • Rating:

  • Source: Sony Pictures
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 1:31:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
John Barrymore Oscar Jaffe
Carole Lombard Mildred Plotka/Lily Garland
Walter Connolly Oliver Webb
Roscoe Karns Owen O'Malley
Etienne Girardot Matthew J. Clark
Ralph Forbes George Smith
Edgar Kennedy McGonigle
Dale Fuller Sadie
Billie Seward Anita
Clifford Thompson Lockwood
James P. Burtis Train Conductor
Gigi Parrish Schultz
Herman Bing First Beard
Lynton Brent Train Secretary
Anita Brown Stage Show Girl
James Burke Chicago Detective
Eddy Chandler Cameraman
Nick Copeland Treasurer
Pat Flaherty Flannigan
Snow Flake
Edward Gargan Sheriff
Clarence Geldert Southern Colonel
Sherry Hall Reporter
Howard Hickman Dr. Johnson
Fred Kelsey Detective on Train
Lee Kohlmar Second Beard
Charles Lane Max Jacobs
Mary Jo Matthews Emmy Lou
King Mojave McGonigle's Assistant
Ted Offenbecker Stage Carpenter
Gaylord "Steve" Pendleton Brother in Play
George H. Reed Uncle Remus
Harry Semels Artist
Fred "Snowflake" Toones Porter
Lillian West Charwoman
Buddy Williams Stage Actor
Irene Thompson Stage Actress
Technical Credits
Howard Hawks Director, Producer
Joseph H. August Cinematographer
Ben Hecht Screenwriter
Gene Havlick Editor
Charles MacArthur Screenwriter
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Start [8:20]
2. OJ & Lily [7:51]
3. A New Star [3:57]
4. Trouble in Paradise [6:52]
5. On a Train to Hollywood [7:34]
6. 20th Century Limited [7:15]
7. An Unlikely Passenger [9:34]
8. The Eleventh Hour [7:54]
9. The Usual Slimy Trick [5:41]
10. The Passion of Oscar Jaffe [9:38]
11. A Noble & Pious Man [7:14]
12. Bamboozled [9:13]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play Movie
   Scene Selections
   Play Previews
   English Subtitles
   Japanese Subtitles
   Subtitles Off
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 17, 2013

    John Barrymore should have been in more comedies. He did an exc

    John Barrymore should have been in more comedies. He did an excellent job in this movie. I highly recommend this movie. His acting was just great!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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