Twentieth Century
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Flamboyant, egomaniacal theatrical impresario Oscar Jaffe (John Barrymore) transforms chorus girl Mildred Plotka (Carole Lombard) into leading lady Lily Garland, the toast of Broadway. Once she's ascended to stardom, Mildred/Lily cannot abide Jaffe's obsessive control of her life and career. When he hires a private detective (Edgar Kennedy) to keep tabs on her, it's the last straw. Lily whisks herself off to Hollywood, where she quickly becomes a top movie star. Months pass: without his "creation" to star in his productions, Jaffe goes bankrupt. With his faithful stooges… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"There is many a witty remark in this harum-scarum adventure."
‑ Mordaunt Hall, New York Times
"[Howard Hawks'] mix of frantic pacing, whiplash shifts in tone and devil-may-care direction of glamorous stars in wacky parts launched the defining comedy genre of the thirties."
‑ Sean Axmaker, Turner Classic Movies Online
"Classic screwball romance between overbearing Broadway producer and his gorgeous but empty headed protege"
‑ Daniel Eagan, Film Journal International
"Less a backstage farce than prototypical screwball, Howard Hawks' brilliantly funny Twentieth Century set the stage for the subgenre that most consider the peak of American screen humor."
‑ Jeremy Heilman,
"Hawks was gifted above all at this kind of fast-paced farce, and somehow made it work without the aid of padding or rest periods."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"The movie is a veritable concerto for their remarkable talents, put across by Hawks with maximal energy and voltage."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"One of the sharpest ever comedy film scripts is turned in by Charles MacArthur and Ben Hecht."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"A shining example of moviemaking magnificence."
‑ Nick Schager, Lessons of Darkness
"Casually reverses and undermines its frumpy thesis by validating the effortlessly supple benefits of the seventh art."
‑ Eric Henderson, Slant Magazine
"It was the first of Hawks' three immortal screwball goldmines,"
‑ Raoul Hernandez, Austin Chronicle
"A weird look at an actress with a love-hate relation with her outrageous, dominating director."
‑ Michael E. Grost, Classic Film and Television
"Often credited as the first screwball comedy… an acerbic satire of show-business ego and superficiality."
‑ Steven D. Greydanus, Decent Films Guide
"Funny, but it gets too repetitious in the last act and slowly crumbles into the relatively obscure minor work it has become today."
‑ Christopher Null,
"...far from the classic it's often made out to be."
‑ David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews
"There really aren't all that many chances to go to the movies and have this much fun."
‑ Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
More reviews for Twentieth Century on Rotten Tomatoes