20th CENTURY [1934 / 2021] [Powerhouse Films Limited Edition] [Blu-ray] [UK Release]
The First Truly Screwball Comedy!

This is the second film Howard Hawks made at Columbia Pictures and is among his greatest works; and the first Columbia Pictures film was ‘The Criminal Code.’ John Barrymore plays a theatre impresario down on his luck. Carole Lombard is his former protégé, now a major star. When the two meet by chance aboard the Twentieth Century locomotive, and their love-hate relationship is reignited.

Now recognised as a comedy classic, ‘20th CENTURY’ is the film which established the template for the screwball comedy and made Carole Lombard a star. This is a Powerhouse Films World Premiere exclusive United Kingdom Blu-ray disc.

FILM FACT No.1: Awards and Nominations: 1934 Venice Film Festival: Nominated: Mussolini Cup for Best Foreign Film for Howard Hawks. 2011 National Film Preservation Board, USA: Win: National Film Registry for the film ‘20th CENTURY.’

FILM FACT No.2: The film ‘20th CENTURY’ was added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 2011. The genesis of ‘20th CENTURY’ became “Napoleon of Broadway,” a play by Charles Bruce Millholland about his experiences in working for the legendary and eccentric Broadway producer David Belasco. Charles Bruce Millholland play was not produced, but it became the basis for the Hecht-MacArthur comedy, which lasted for 152 performances on Broadway, beginning on the 29th December, 1932, and which they later adapted for the big screen. Howard Hawks was not the first choice; Roy Del Ruth and Lewis Milestone had been set to direct before Howard Hawks got the job. Columbia Pictures tried to get William Frawley from the Broadway cast, but instead borrowed Roscoe Karns from Paramount Pictures. Carole Lombard and John Barrymore became friends during filming. When John Barrymore's career was declining, Carole Lombard raised hell to get him to work on her film ‘True Confession’ [1937]. During the filming, there were some problems with the censors at the Hays Office, who were concerned about the religious angle in the comedy of the film, and requested that it be toned down. Joseph Breen, who ran the Hays Office, worried that "there will be serious difficulty in inducing an anti-Semitic public to accept a [motion picture] play produced by an industry believed to be Jewish in which the Passion Play is used for comedy purposes." The Office ultimately asked that one line be removed, which it was. They also requested that it be made less clear where Oscar jabs Lily with a pin. ‘20th CENTURY’ was premiered in New York at Radio City Music Hall on the 3rd May, 1934, and went into general release on the 11th May, 1934.

Cast: John Barrymore, Carole Lombard, Walter Connolly, Roscoe Karns, Ralph Forbes, Charles Lane, Etienne Girardot, Dale Fuller, Edgar Kennedy, Billie Seward, Herman Bing (uncredited), Lynton Brent (uncredited), Anita Brown (uncredited), James Burke (uncredited), James P. Burtis (uncredited), Eddy Chandler (uncredited), Nick Copeland (uncredited), Pat Flaherty (uncredited), Clarence Geldert (uncredited), Arnold Gray (uncredited), Sherry Hall (uncredited), A.R. Haysel (uncredited), Kid Herman (uncredited), Howard Hickman (uncredited), Fred Kelsey (uncredited), Lee Kohlmar (uncredited), Frank Marlowe (uncredited), Mary Jo Mathews (uncredited),  Frank Mills  (uncredited), King Mojave (uncredited), Frank O'Connor (uncredited), Charles O'Malley (uncredited), George Offerman Jr. (uncredited), Gigi Parrish (uncredited), Steve Pendleton (uncredited), George Reed (uncredited), Ky Robinson (uncredited), Harry Semels (uncredited), Clifford Thompson (uncredited), Irene Thompson (uncredited), Fred 'Snowflake' Toones (uncredited), Lillian West (uncredited) and   Buddy Williams (uncredited)        

Director: Howard Hawks

Producers: Harry Cohn (uncredited) and Howard Hawks 

Screenplay: Charles Bruce Millholland (play), Ben Hecht (screenplay), Ben Hecht (play) (uncredited), Charles MacArthur (screenplay), Charles MacArthur (play) (uncredited), Gene Fowler (screenplay) (uncredited) and Preston Sturges (uncredited)  

Costume Designer: Robert Kalloch (gowns) (uncredited) 

Cinematography: Joseph H. August, A.S.C. (Director of Photography)

Image Resolution: 1080p (Black-and-White)

Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1

Audio: English: 1.0 LPCM Mono Audio
English: 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo Audio

Subtitles: English SDH

Running Time: 91 minutes

Region: Region B/2

Number of discs: 1

Studio: Columbia Pictures / INDICATOR / Powerhouse Films

Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: ‘20th CENTURY’ [1934] is often credited as the first screwball comedy, Howard Hawks ‘20th CENTURY’ film is an acerbic satire of show-business ego and superficiality starring the wonderful John Barrymore and Carole Lombard.

With the top Hollywood stars John Barrymore, Carole Lombard, Walter Connelly, Roscoe Karns, Charles Lane and Etienne Girardot ride the ‘20th CENTURY’ in this outrageous 1934 comedy directed by Howard Hawks. The story was made into a successful musical in the 1970’s that starred Madeline Kahn and John Cullum. John Barrymore plays Oscar Jaffe, a producer who moulds, discovers and renames Mildred Plotka “Lily Garland,” who becomes a huge Broadway star. The two lovers, both of volatile temperaments, at last part and Lily heads for Hollywood, where her face appears on every magazine cover.

Though the director Howard Hawks went on to make other  better-known screwball comedies, including ‘Bringing Up Baby,’ ‘His Girl Friday,’ and Howard Hawks ‘20th CENTURY’ is possibly the most breathlessly comedic film out of the three, if also the most  cynical and subversive.

The film is based on “Napoleon of Broadway,” a very successful play by Charles Bruce Millholland about his experiences in working for the legendary Broadway producer. This screwball comedy film directed by the great Howard Hawks and starring John Barrymore and Carole Lombard was made and released just before the Hays Code which was vigorously enforced by the censors, and boy you can tell.

A lot of the film is set on the 20th Century Limited locomotive as it travels from Chicago and is considered to be the prototype for screwball comedy including the dizzy blonde dame Lily Garland [Carole Lombard], a charming, but befuddled, hero Oscar Jaffe [John Barrymore], dazzling dialogue, and a touch of classic slapstick.

The story itself is more or less boy meets girl, or rather, Broadway impresario and older man about town Oscar Jaffe takes an unknown lingerie model named Mildred Plotka [Carole Lombard] and despite her being a really awful actress, makes her the star of his latest play, despite the grave misgivings of his two long suffering assistants, accountant Oliver Webb [Walter Connolly] and the continually drunk Owen O’Malley [Roscoe Karns].

Oscar Jaffe transforms his protégée into the actress Lily Garland, to great success, Oscar Jaffe seduces her, and they become partners in work and … love. Three years later, Lily Garland high on success, and tired of Oscar Jaffe being a demanding possessive baby, attempts to leave him.

John Barrymore delivers a perfectly histrionic comedic portrayal of Oscar Jaffe, a controlling, slightly obsessive, zany Broadway director. At the time of filming, Carole Lombard had spent a decade making films, but this film marked a turning point in the 22-year-old’s career. Carole Lombard’s performance was spot-on in her first comedy and her roles in this genre continued to make her a Hollywood star. Carole Lombard and John Barrymore demonstrated an infectious chemistry in their scenes on their adventurous journey from Chicago to New York. The banter is the perfect screwball sketch with fast-paced, witty verbal sparring. Lombard’s character evolves from Oscar Jaffe’s manipulated, fledgling protégé into a fierce-tongued, confident opponent who he desperately needs to keep his fledgling career afloat.

Carole Lombard is a total delight and John Barrymore does ham it up a bit, but one has to remember this film was made in the 1930’s. Bearing that in mind it’s lost nothing in its zingy dialogue and I laughed out loud several times. Knowing Lily Garland is vain and Oscar Jaffe tells her of his wish for her to play Mary Magdalene in his new play. That had me in tears, and the film is full of them. This is a real comedy classic film, just as funny now as it was then.

‘20th CENTURY,’ however, belongs to John Barrymore, one of the greatest actors who ever lived. In her lectures to her students, Stella Adler said he was one of a rare breed that no longer exist. What a pity, and thank goodness we have him on film.


HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN (1929) (uncredited) (Music by Milton Ager) (Lyrics by Jack Yellen) [Sung a cappella by Walter Connolly]

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Blu-ray Image Quality – Columbia Pictures and Powerhouse Films presents us the film ‘20th CENTURY’ with a wonderful and stunning SONY 4K restoration Black-and-White 1080p image which was supervised by Rita Belda and is of course enhanced with a 1.37:1 aspect ratio and the whole film looked wonderful and the black-and-white images looked stunning. Immediately after the opening credits disappear the film reveals a wide range of beautifully nuanced greys, and is very impressive. I was actually quite surprised to see that even during reel transitions where usually you can spot signs of aging the density and stability of the visuals were very strong. There are no traces of problematic digital corrections and is a wonderful presentation. Please Note: Playback Region B/2: This will not play on most Blu-ray players sold in North America, Central America, South America, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Learn more about Blu-ray region specifications.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – Columbia Pictures and Powerhouse Films brings us the film ‘20th CENTURY’ with just one standard 1.0 LPCM Mono Audio experience and shows its age in its limited dynamic range and complete lack of bass, none of which is in any way unusual for a film made so early in the era of synchronised sound. Dialogue, however, is always clear, and as well as there being no evidence of any kind of damage, more surprisingly, there is hardly any background fluff or hiss. Audio clarity and sharpness are very good. Dynamic intensity is quite limited, but this is to be expected from a film that was filmed in the early 1930’s.

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Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

Audio Commentary with Novelist and Film Historian Farran Smith Nehme: Here we are introduced by Farran Smith Nehme and is here to talk in-depth about the film ‘20th CENTURY.’ It is clearly evident from the moment film critic and writer Farran Smith Nehme starts talking about ‘20th CENTURY’ that it is a film she really adores, and a viewpoint Farran Smith Nehme is fully able to justify over the course of this busy and informative audio commentary. When we get to the first scene of the rehearsals, Farran Smith Nehme talks about the character actor Charles Lane and has appeared in nine films in 1934 at the age of 29, and eventually went onto live to the right old age of 102 and his last film he appeared in was in 2007, which was two years before he passed away and Farran Smith Nehme feels watching this actor perform as a pleasurable experience. Farran Smith Nehme talks more about the film’s rehearsal scenes and finds it extremely funny and it is not at all unrealistic, especially watching the process of the rehearsals about how a play is put together in the theatre and how to coax a performance with a reluctant actor or actress and finds it really interesting in getting a good in-depth glimpse of the John Barrymore’s character Oscar Jaffe performance. When we see Jon Barrymore plunge the pin into Carole Lombard’s backside, the hays office was very concerned with this scene, and wanted to be less obvious where John Barrymore plunges the pin, and of course at the time of the film was made, the Hays Office had complete control on what could be shown in a film and especially for the general public. There is also plenty of detail not just on the lead actors and director Howard Hawks, but also some of the key supporting players in the film, like the amazing cinematographer Joseph August, also famed Columbia Pictures studio boss Harry Cohn, and the real-life theatrical figure on whom Oscar Jaffe was based. Farran Smith Nehme gets round to talking about Carole Lombard’s wonderful and glorious Costume that the actress appears throughout the film which were by the equally wonderful American Costume Designer Robert Kalloch, and joined Vogue as an illustrator and designer of women's fashions. At the age of 18, Robert Kalloch sought out one of his idols, the prima ballerina Anna Pavlova. After weeks of haunting the performers' entrance at the theatre where she was appearing, he finally convinced her to look at his sketches. She was so impressed that she hired him to design costumes for one of her ballets. Robert Kalloch later designed costumes for the opera singer Mary Garden. In 1919, Robert Kalloch won a position with Lucile Ltd., the fashion house of Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon. Robert Kalloch worked in the London and Paris branches of the company, studying fashion and designing costumes for the Grande Revue of the Casino de Paris. In 1933, Columbia Pictures hired Robert Kalloch to be their chief fashion and women's costume designer. Robert Kalloch was the first contract costume designer ever hired by the studio, and he established the studio's wardrobe department. Robert Kalloch left Columbia Pictures in early 1941, and by May 1941 was working for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer The reason for his employment seems to be that his designs strongly resembled those of Adrian, M-G-M's chief fashion designer with whom Robert Kalloch had maintained a close friendship since Adrian's student days at the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts. Robert Kalloch suffered from arteriosclerosis, and died of cardiac arrest at his home on the 19th October, 1947. His lover, Joseph Demarais, died of alcoholic fatty liver disease on the same day. All in all, Farran Smith Nehme feels Robert Kalloch costume designs really enhanced the film. Farran Smith Nehme gets round to talking about the character actor Edgar Kennedy as the private detective Oscar McGonigle and Farran Smith Nehme feels this actor really stands out in every scene he appears in and was born in 1890 and entered his acting career in films in 1911 and originally started out as a boxer, but did not work out, but Farran Smith Nehme says Edgar Kennedy had a really good singing voice, but eventually found his true calling as a Keystone Cop for Max Sennett and some supporting roles in some Charlie Chaplin films and then moved onto Hal Roach, also appearing in Laurel and Hardy films, and eventually worked as a freelance actor and one of those films he appeared in was ‘Duck Soup.’ When we first see the marvellous Twentieth Century Limited locomotive, Farran Smith Nehme talks about the evocative and wonderful cinematography by the equally amazing Joseph H. August who captures the Twentieth Century steam locomotive so beautifully and talks about the other films that the award winning cinematographer Joseph H. August have worked on like ‘Gunga Din’ [1939], ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ [1939], ‘The Devil and Daniel Webster’ [1941] and ‘Portrait of Jennie’ [1948] which is Farran Smith Nehme’s favourite film, but sadly passed away after a massive heart attack and was only 57 years of age, and to finish the final part of the film they brought in cinematographer Lee Garmes. Farran Smith Nehme now talks about memorable diminutive actor Etienne Girardot who plays the character of harmless lunatic Mathew J. Clark, who keeps going about putting the religious stickers throughout the train and on people’s hats and clothing, and informs us that he was Anglo-French parentage born in London, England and is the only actor to appear in the Broadway production of “20th Century.” Farran Smith Nehme now informs us that ‘20th CENTURY’ was turned into a Broadway musical that had lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green and music by Cy Coleman. Based partly on the 1930s film and play of the same name, the musical is part operetta, part farce and part screwball comedy and the musical ran on Broadway in 1978 – 1979 at the St James Theatre and ran for 449 performances and winning five Tony Awards and it showcased Madeline Kahn in the role of Lily Garland, and also starred Kevin Kline as Oscar Jaffe and when Madeline Kahn left the show, the role launched the career of Judy Kaye and the reviews were very mixed. Farran Smith Nehme informs us that director Howard Hawks praised the actor John Barrymore for his performance as Oscar Jaffe and despite John Barrymore’s drink problems, the actor was very professional in knowing his lines perfectly, especially with his long speeches and lots of complicated names he says throughout the film and on top of all that, they only lost one days shoot due to problems with John Barrymore. Farran Smith Nehme now gets onto the subject of Howard Hawks and was an American film director, producer and screenwriter of the classic Hollywood era and Howard Winchester Hawks was born in Goshen, Indiana on the 30th May, 1896 and sadly passed away on the 26th December, 1977. Howard Winchester Hawks was the first-born child of Frank Winchester Hawks, a wealthy paper manufacturer, and his wife, Helen Brown, the daughter of a wealthy industrialist. Howard Winchester Hawks family on his father's side were American pioneers and his ancestor John Hawks had emigrated from England to Massachusetts in 1630. The family eventually settled in Goshen and by the 1890s was one of the wealthiest families in the Midwest, due mostly to the highly profitable Goshen Milling Company.  From 1910 to 1912, Howard Winchester Hawks attended Pasadena High School. But in 1912, the Hawks family moved to nearby Glendora, California, where Frank Hawks owned orange groves. Hawks finished his junior year of high school at Citrus Union High School in Glendora. During this time Howard Winchester Hawks worked as a barnstorming pilot. During World War I, Howard Winchester Hawks taught aviators to fly and he used these experiences as influence for future aviation films such as ‘The Dawn Patrol’ [1930]. Like many college students who joined the armed services during the war, he received a degree in absentia in 1918. Before Howard Winchester Hawks was called for active duty, he returned to Hollywood and by the end of April 1917 was working on a Cecil B. DeMille film. Farran Smith Nehme then gets round to talking about the director Howard Hawks and was a versatile film director, and Howard Hawks explored many genres such as comedies, dramas, gangster films, science fiction, film noir, war films and westerns. Howard Hawks most popular films include ‘Scarface’ [1932], ‘Bringing Up Baby’ [1938], ‘Only Angels Have Wings’ [1939], ‘His Girl Friday’ [1940], ‘To Have and Have Not’ [1944], ‘The Big Sleep’ [1946], ‘Red River’ [1948]), ‘The Thing from Another World’ [1951], ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ [1953] and ‘Rio Bravo’ [1959]. Howard Hawks’s frequently portrayed strong, tough-talking female characters came to define them as “Hawksian woman.” In 1942, Howard Hawks was nominated for the Academy Award® for Best Director for ‘Sergeant York.’ In 1974, Howard Hawks was awarded an Honorary Academy Award® as “a master American filmmaker whose creative efforts hold a distinguished place in world cinema.” Howard Hawks work has influenced various popular and respected directors such as Martin Scorsese, Robert Altman, Jean-Luc Godard and John Carpenter. Farran Smith Nehme this time gets round to talking about the actress Carole Lombard and explains how the actress arrived at the star’s name, and to make it different and to stand out and decided to add the “e” for Carol to make her name stand out, and with her usual her highly colourful Saxon language, by saying, “The “e” made all the bleeding difference.” It is also known that Carole Lombard loved to use swear words in her normal speech and could not care less if is upset people. Farran Smith Nehme informs us that director Howard Hawks felt his film ‘20th CENTURY’ was a total flop, well this is not quite true, it only happened in the provinces and especially people in the Midwest parts of America and felt they could not imagine why they should spend roughly 90 minutes watching such wild and crazy Broadway characters and on top of that, they just didn’t get the plot of the film. Farran Smith Nehme now gets round to talking about the film ‘20th CENTURY,’ and especially explaining about some wording on the back of the DVD cover release, and saying, “Howard Hawks rapid fire romantic comedy, established the essential ingredients of the screwball, a dizzy dame, a charming but fuddled hero, dazzling dialogue and a dash of slapstick.” Farran Smith Nehme gest round to talking the tragic death of the actress Carole Lombard and especially at a very young age and the most tragic event to happen to this wonderful love by all actress, and it happened while flying home from a War Bond Rally in early 1942 and if you want to know more details of this traffic event, Farran Smith Nehme recommends you check out the book “Fireball – Carole Lombard and the Mystery of Flight 2.” As we get to the final scene in the film ‘20th CENTURY,’ Farran Smith Nehme talks about where John Barrymore and Carole Lombard are once again back on the stage doing rehearsals for another upcoming play, and Farran Smith Nehme says. “I hope you have enjoyed watching ‘20th CENTURY’ with me, I’ve certainly enjoyed watching it again and also researching the film and relearning all of the names of these great character actors and it certainly has been a delight getting reacquainted with this incredible movie.” This is a very useful and fascinating audio commentary by Farran Smith Nehme and is a very engaging companion to the film ‘20th CENTURY’ so enjoy.

Special Feature: Stars in Her Eyes [2021] [1080p] [1.37:1 / 1.78:1] [16:17] Academic Lucy Bolton looks back on the film career of actress Carole Lombard and her starring role in the film ‘21st CENTURY.’ Lucy Bolton informs us that Carole Lombard was born Jane Alice Peters on the 6th October, 1908 and was born into a wealthy family in Fort Wayne, Indiana, but was raised in California by her single Mother. Carole Lombard had a great relationship with her brothers and loved being a “Tom Boy,” but the only sadness in Carole Lombard life is that her Parents’ marriage was not a good one or even a happy one and in 1914 her Mother left her Father and took her children to Hollywood and it was in the early days of Hollywood and the film industry, and so Carole Lombard was right at the beginning of the Hollywood Movie making business and it was a great start 0f her acting career, and as a young child was very influenced by the films being made at the time and wanted to have a career acting in films. Even getting into films, Carole Lombard had a great relationship with her mother and could be seen as a “Hollywood Mum,” but was never pushy towards Carole Lombard, but instead encouraged her daughter into her acting career. From her discovery at the age of 12 years of age was recruited by director Allan Dwan and made her screen debut in ‘A Perfect Crime’ [1921]. Eager to become an actress, she signed a contract with the Fox Film Corporation at the age of 16, but mainly played bit parts. This is all the more inspiring when you learn that Carole Lombard’s earlier contract with Fox Film Corporation was cancelled by just before her 18th birthday before a shattered windshield from a car accident left a scar on her face. Carole Lombard then appeared in fifteen short comedies for Mack Sennett between 1927 and 1929 as one of Max Sennett’s Bathing Beauties, and then began appearing in feature films such as ‘High Voltage’ [1929] and ‘The Racketeer’ [1929]. After a successful appearance in ‘The Arizona Kid’ [1930], Carole Lombard was signed to a seven-year contract with  Paramount Pictures, where she was loaned out to Columbia Pictures for her career-changing role in the film ‘20th CENTURY.’ Carole Lombard fought for equal pay and that women in many industries are still facing today, it’s rather pleasing to learn that in 1937 Carole Lombard was the highest paid actor in Hollywood from which remained even after pioneering plastic surgery treatment. Paramount Pictures quickly began casting Lombard as a leading lady, primarily in drama films. Her profile increased when she married William Powell in 1931, but the couple divorced amicably after two years. A turning point in Carole Lombard's acting career came when she starred in Howard Hawks pioneering screwball comedy ‘20th CENTURY’ [1934]. The actress Carole Lombard found her niche in this genre, and continued to appear in films such as ‘Hands Across the Table’ [1935] forming a popular partnership with Fred MacMurray. With the film ‘My Man Godfrey’ [1936], for which Carole Lombard was nominated for the Academy Award® for Best Actress, and ‘Nothing Sacred’ [1937]. At this time, Carole Lombard married "The King of Hollywood," Clark Gable, and the super couple gained much attention from the media. Keen to win an Oscar, Carole Lombard began to move towards more serious roles at the end of the decade. Unsuccessful in this aim, Carole Lombard returned to comedy in Alfred Hitchcock's film ‘Mr. & Mrs. Smith’ [1941] and Ernst Lubitsch's ‘To Be or Not to Be’ [1942], which was Carole Lombard’s final film role. Lucy Bolton elects not to discuss Carole Lombard’s tragically premature death at the age of 33 in detail, though does recommend a book on the subject for those who are interested in finding out more. But Lucy Bolton really raves about the clothes that Carole Lombard wore in the film ‘20th CENTURY’ and feels they were glorious and very glamorous and helped to enhance her personality. Today, Carole Lombard is remembered as one of the definitive actresses of the screwball comedy genre and especially American comedy, and as an icon of the American cinema.

Special Feature: Peter Bogdanovich Recommends ‘20th CENTURY’ [1989] [1080p / 480i] [1.37:1] [5:10] Here acclaimed  filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich gives his special appreciation towards the film ‘20th CENTURY’ and explains why it is a genuine classic of American cinema. The film is one of Peter Bogdanovich’s personal favourites and he’s every bit as enthusiastic about the film and tells us the anecdote about how Howard Hawks took Carole Lombard aside and convinced her to loosen up and be herself, and reveals that the whole film was shot in just three weeks.  

Special Feature: ‘20th CENTURY’ Super 8 version [1974] [480i] [1.37:1] [20:10] Before home video formats happened, cut-down Super 8 versions of popular films were produced for audiences to enjoy in the comfort of their own homes. The following Super 8 presentation of ‘20th CENTURY’

Special Feature: The Campbell Playhouse: “20th CENTURY”  [1939] [1080p] [1.78:1] [58:11] Here we get to hear the radio adaptation of the film ‘20th CENTURY’ and was originally broadcast on the 24th March, 1939 and was a Campbell Soup sponsored radio production for the Columbia Broadcasting Sysem and was produced by Orson Welles. The classic/frantic comedy by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, set on a cross-country train. Structurally, it differs from the film by devoting the opening ten minutes to Lily Garland’s first audition with Oscar Jaffe before skipping through the next few years to the train on which the original stage play was entirely set. Orson Welles has a ball playing it up as Oscar Jaffe, but the whole thing feels a lot less cohesive than the film adaptation, whose verbal comedy was complimented by physicality of the performers. The reason that Oscar Jaffe is on the train in this version also differs, as here he is fully aware that Lily Garland is on board from the start and has deliberately booked the adjacent room, which strips the story of an element that for me worked better as a chance encounter. Of particular note is that the music for the show was arranged by a certain composer Bernard Herrmann. It stars Orson Welles [Oscar Jaffe], Elissa Landi [Lily Garland], Sam Levene [Owen O'Malley], Ray Collins [Oliver Webb], Gus Schilling [Max Jacobs], Howard Teichmann [Train Dispatcher], Edgar Kent [Clark], Everett Sloane and Teddy Bergman [Two Players]. Guest is Richard Maney, a real-life press agent who was satirized in the story. Sadly we get any kind of image, just a blank screen.  

Theatrical Trailer [2016] [1080p] [1.37:1] [1:00] Here we get to view the Austin Film Society short trailer for the 4K restoration for the Howard Hawk’s film ‘20th CENTURY’ and was prepared in 2016.

Special Feature: Image gallery: Here we get to view 44 awesome black-and-white and colour images of Original Promotional Material and behind-the-scenes photos, dayglow lobby cards, and posters with one of which is accompanied by what looks like an early concept drawing for the film ‘20th CENTURY.’ To view all of the images, use either of the < > on your remote control to navigate the image gallery backwards or forwards. Press MENU or TOP MENU to leave, so happy viewing folks.

PLUS: FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Here we get a 32 page beautiful collector’s limited edition booklet with a new essay by Pamela Hutchinson entitled RUNNING THE GAMUT FROM THE GUTTER TO GLORY. An interview extract and overview of contemporary and modern critical responses to the film by Joseph McBride with Howard Hawks and entitled HOWARD HAWKS ON TWENTIETH CENTURY. ABOUT THE PRESENTATION. SPECIAL THANKS. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS. INDICATOR CREDITS. Plus a selection of rare archival imagery from the films production and a black-and-white film poster.

BONUS: Reversible printed Blu-ray cover featuring original artwork of the cinema poster for the film.

Finally, ‘20th CENTURY’ is an absolute joy as a screwball comedy that is driven along by snappy, quick-fire dialogue, brisk direction, two gloriously comical lead performances and a belter of a supporting cast. ‘20th CENTURY’ is an exceptional screwball comedy from the great Howard Hawks. Carol Lombard's wonderful in the movie that made her a star. Barrymore gives a tour-de-force performance that has to be seen to be believed. Good support from Walter Connolly, Roscoe Karns, and Etienne Girardot, among others. You get rapid-fire pace, a terrific script, and really excellent direction. A true classic and one of the top five screwball comedies ever made. Powerhouse Films has produced a solid amazing image transfer and some nicely chosen extras make this a must purchase Blu-ray disc.  Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Aficionado 
Le Cinema Paradiso 
United Kingdom

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