Oscar Jaffe is a egomaniacal theater director whose always looking for his next big star. During his most recent production he becomes infatuated with a simple chorus girl, Mildred Plotka. Convinced he can turn her into a leading lady, Jaffe uses his controlling ways to effectively transform Mildred into Lily Garland, the biggest star on Broadway. At first the two are inseparable but Lily begins to grow tired of Jeffe's obsessive control over both her career and her life. The last straw happens when Jaffe hires a private detective to track Lily's every move, forcing her to run for the hills of Hollywood. Soon after Lily's departure Jaffe goes bankrupt with Lily becoming one of the biggest star in Hollywood. While fleeing the city from debt collectors, Jaffe coincidentally runs into Lily on the train, with him being desperate to have her back in one of his productions. Howard Hawks' Twentieth Century is an incredibly fun screwball comedy that no question set the watermark on this type of thing for years to come. John Barrymore completely steals the entire film as the flamboyantly egomaniac, Oscar Jaffe. His comedic timing is really one of a kind and the energy he brings to the whole endeavor makes it almost impossible not to be charmed. The script is also fantastic in both its simplicity and wittiness, even touching on some interesting themes like the art vs. commerce debate. The relationship between the actress and the director, how they despise each other, yet are drawn to each other is just great to watch. As fun as Hawks screwball films are, they always impress me with their understanding of character. For example, the first time see Lily after her departure it is very clear that she has become just as egomaniacal and over-dramatic as Oscar Jaffe. This leads to some great comedic moments but also hints at the notion that Oscar and Lily really are perfect for one and other even if they seem to despise each other. Twentieth Century is without question one of the best screwball comedies I've seen, really capturing the over-dramatic tendencies of theater performances and using it too great comedic effect.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.