Monday Matinees

Twentieth Century (1934)

Director: Howard Hawks

1934, 91 minutes, Digital, NR

Presented by: Washington DC Chapter, National Railway Historical Society

Cast: John Barrymore, Carole Lombard, Roscoe Karns, Walter Connolly, Ralph Forbes

Distributor: Sony Pictures Entertainment

When down-on-his-luck Broadway impresario Oscar Jaffe (John Barrymore) meets his discovery and former flame, Lily Garland (Carole Lombard), on the glamorous 20th Century Limited train between Chicago and New York, he uses every scheme at his disposal to win the movie star back both professionally and romantically. However, Lily, along with her new beau, George (Ralph Forbes), and Jaffe’s rival producer, Max Jacobs (Charles Levison), who hired Lily to star in his latest play, have other plans.

Along with Frank Capra’s It Happened One Night, also released in 1934 (which coincidentally has the same music over the opening titles), Twentieth Century is considered to be a prototype for the screwball comedy. Its success propelled Lombard into the front ranks of film comediennes. The film was added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 2011.

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