Mildred Plotka owes her ascent from lingerie model to Broadway star, as well as her new name – Lily Garland – to temperamental theatre impresario Oscar Joffe. But despite being her lover, he’s a hard taskmaster. Lily escapes his clutches and flees to Hollywood, where she soon becomes a star, while Joffe’s career goes on a downward spiral. The two meet again by chance on the Twentieth Century express train. As it travels from Chicago to New York, Joffe pursues the single-minded goal of getting Lily to sign a new contract with him. And he’ll use whatever (histrionic) means are at his disposal … Howard Hawks helped shape the genre with this screwball comedy, which afforded Carole Lombard an opportunity to show off the full range of her comedic talents, finally raising her to star status. This high-volume battle of the sexes is literally a laugh riot, not least of all because it brought together two leads from utterly different acting styles. On one side was serious Shakespearean tragedian John Barrymore and on the other, the antic comedienne of Mack Sennett’s silent slapstick classics.
by Howard Hawks
with John Barrymore, Carole Lombard, Walter Connolly, Roscoe Karns, Ralph Forbes, Charles Levison, Etienne Girardot, Dale Fuller, Edgar Kennedy, Billie Seward
USA 1934 English 91’ Black/White


  • John Barrymore
  • Carole Lombard
  • Walter Connolly
  • Roscoe Karns
  • Ralph Forbes
  • Charles Levison
  • Etienne Girardot
  • Dale Fuller
  • Edgar Kennedy
  • Billie Seward


Director Howard Hawks
Screenplay Ben Hecht, Charles MacArthur based on the play “Napoleon of Broadway” by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur as well as the play “Twentieth Century” (1932) by Charles Bruce Millholland
Cinematography Joseph August
Editing Gene Havlick
Sound Edward Bernds
Producer Howard Hawks

Produced by

Columbia Pictures Corp. (A Howard Hawks Production)

Additional information

DCP: Park Circus, Glasgow, UK