Carole Lombard and John Barrymore star in this all-time classic screwball comedy based on the Charles MacArthurBen Hecht Broadway hit and directed by Howard Hawks. It's the story of a maniacal Broadway director (Barrymore) who transforms shopgirl Carole Lombard from a talented amateur to a smashing Great White Way success adored by public and press.
Screwball comedy was practically invented by this classic Howard Hawks picture, a breathless farce with not an ounce of sentimentality. John Barrymore, in magnificent form, plays egomaniacal Broadway producer Oscar Jaffe, who molds his latest protégé, Mildred Plotka, into elegant thee-a-tuh star Lily Garland (Carole Lombard). The last hour of the picture has Oscar and Lily, now on the outs, battling each other on the Chicago-to-New York train. These two marvelous creatures are quintessential Hawks characters, figures of pure style who can't exist without the adrenaline and spark so amply supplied by the Hecht-MacArthur script. Hawks's giddyup pacing anticipates Bringing Up Baby and His Girl Friday, and his deployment of character actors (notably Walter Connolly and Roscoe Karns, as Jaffe's long-suffering, oft-fired flunkies) is sublime. Barrymore and Lombard take it at full speed, grand and horrid and silly and probably meant for each other. --Robert Horton