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Amazing the difference between John and Lionel. Lionel was a brilliant technician. John, often contrived in his technique, was nevertheless completely organic in his characterizations - a genuinely internalized actor. And Ethel probably had the best qualities of both. What a wonderful family!

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I just couldn't stay up for NIGHT CLUB CONFIDENTIAL, so I hope it recorded successfully. I love John Barrymore and have made a box set of my personal favorites - which incidentally are not his most famous, big pictures. I caught a bit of MAYTIME yesterday and although Barrymore was great, could not get into the story. 

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I can't think of any actor, certainly of his own era, who had the versatility of John Barrymore

Horror and Grand Guignol (Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Svengali, Mad Genius)

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Costume Hero (Don Juan, When A Man Loves, Beloved Rogue, Tempest)

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Debonair Romantic (Raffles, Grand Hotel, Arsene Lupin)

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Character Work (Topaze, Councillor at Law, Bill of Divorcement)

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Screwball Comedy (20th Century)

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Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet (on stage))

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I also appreciate the courage it must have taken Barrymore to play a drunken has been actor so perilously close to himself in Dinner at Eight. This was before he started doing some of his later comedy self spoofs. Barrymore had the versatility that would have allowed him to play either Rasputin or the prince who assassinates him in Rasputin and the Empress, a versatility that brother Lionel lacked therefore he got to play the Russian monk. I've often wondered what kind of Rasputin John might have been, Svengali being the closest to an answer.

 

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JOHN BARRYMORE breaks my heart in DINNER AT EIGHT.  That film is loaded with great performances, some schmaltzy, yet his face haunts me.  I also enjoy GRAND HOTEL for all of the performances, but again he breaks my heart! 

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55 minutes ago, Allhallowsday said:

JOHN BARRYMORE breaks my heart in DINNER AT EIGHT.  That film is loaded with great performances, some schmaltzy, yet his face haunts me.  I also enjoy GRAND HOTEL for all of the performances, but again he breaks my heart! 

One of my favourite Barrymore performances is as the Baron in Grand Hotel. He is light hearted, charming and flirtatious in his scenes with Joan Crawford, while bringing sensitivity and empathy to those with dying brother Lionel. Barrymore is suave and elegant as a master jewel thief in this film (really a prototype for other actors that would follow in similar roles) but he also brings an unexpected vulnerability to the role, as well. One of my favourite moments in the film is when Lionel (who is wonderful in his role) refers to the smart friends that the Baron must have in a conversation with him. There is a closeup of John with a hint of tears in his eyes, as he replies, "I have no friends."

lionel-and-john.jpg

John Barrymore's Baron Felix von Geigern is a performance of style and grace.

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^

46 minutes ago, TomJH said:

There is a closeup of John with a hint of tears in his eyes, as he replies, "I have no friends."

The Baron is heartbreaking.  I think JOAN CRAWFORD was a wonderful actress, and I love her scenes with BARRYMORE as well. 

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59 minutes ago, Allhallowsday said:

^

The Baron is heartbreaking.  I think JOAN CRAWFORD was a wonderful actress, and I love her scenes with BARRYMORE as well. 

I agree. The only scenes in Grand Hotel I don't care for are those with Garbo (possibly her worst performance). Barrymore's love scenes with her, done in the grand manner, seem over the top to me. I'm not a fan of Crawford but she's great in this film.

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26 minutes ago, TomJH said:

I agree. The only scenes in Grand Hotel I don't care for are those with Garbo (possibly her worst performance). Barrymore's love scenes with her, done in the grand manner, seem over the top to me...

I can't believe you said what I daren't. 

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59 minutes ago, Allhallowsday said:

I can't believe you said what I daren't. 

This topic has been discussed many times at this forum and I believe the over all consensus is that Greta is way-over-the-top.      That is how I feel.

But when I see such situations I tend to fault the director more than the actor;   Goulding should of stopped these scenes.   Called Greta to the side and advised her that this wasn't a silent film and even if it was she didn't need to overact.    Start filming again,  and if Greta goes off the reservation stop it,  and tell her he will do retakes if it takes all week!!!      

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37 minutes ago, Allhallowsday said:

I can't believe you said what I daren't. 

You daren't? If you're leery of being assaulted by a stream of Garbo fans for criticizing her performance just tell them you vant to be alone.

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1 hour ago, TomJH said:

I agree. The only scenes in Grand Hotel I don't care for are those with Garbo (possibly her worst performance). Barrymore's love scenes with her, done in the grand manner, seem over the top to me. I'm not a fan of Crawford but she's great in this film.

I first saw "Grand Hotel" when I was a child. And I was impressed with Garbo and John Barrymore.

It's one of my few favorite classic films that I revisited as an adult and had to change my opinions completely.

I have to give the kudos to Joan Crawford and Lionel Barrymore in this movie.

John Barrymore, of course, is passable,  but Greta Garbo is simply awful.

The only explanation I could think of for  her public renown in this film is that her fan base was still seeing her through their Rose Colored Glasses from the silent film era.

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1 minute ago, Princess of Tap said:

I first saw "Grand Hotel" when I was a child. And I was impressed with Garbo and John Barrymore.

It's one of my few favorite classic films that I revisited as an adult and had to change my opinions completely.

I have to give the kudos to Joan Crawford and Lionel Barrymore in this movie.

John Barrymore, of course is passible,  but Greta Garbo is simply awful.

The only explanation I could think of for  her public renown in this film is that her fan base was still seeing her through their Rose Colored Glasses from the silent film era.

Poor old Wally Beery. He's not half bad and he was the only cast member to attempt a German accent. But few seem to talk about his performance in Grand Hotel. For me it's Crawford and the Barrymore brothers who run away with the film.

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12 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

This topic has been discussed many times at this forum and I believe the over all consensus is that Greta is way-over-the-top.      That is how I feel.

But when I see such situations I tend to fault the director more than the actor;   Goulding should of stop these scenes.   Call Greta to the side and advise her that this wasn't a silent film and even if it was she didn't need to overact.    Start filming again,  and if Greta goes off the reservation stop it,  and tell her he will do retakes if it takes all week!!!      

You're talking about Garbo here!

I doubt if anybody would do this to her at this particular time in her career at MGM.

And from what I've heard about  Goulding--LOL 

He ended up at Warner Brothers terrified of Bette Davis.

So I don't think he would have been the one to tell Garbo to tone it down. LOL

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14 minutes ago, Princess of Tap said:

You're talking about Garbo here!

I doubt if anybody would do this to her at this particular time in her career at MGM.

And from what I've heard about  Goulding--LOL 

He ended up at Warner Brothers terrified of Bette Davis.

So I don't think he would have been the one to tell Garbo to tone it down. LOL

So you believe Garbo was that unprofessional,  arrogant and uncooperative?       That isn't what I have read.     

A professional should be able to take advise and react appropriately.      

Garbo clearly had the 'chops';   Therefore either she was advised to give such a performance or wasn't told to modify it.    Both are the job of the director.

 

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24 minutes ago, TomJH said:

Poor old Wally Beery. He's not half bad and he was the only cast member to attempt a German accent. But few seem to talk about his performance in Grand Hotel. For me it's Crawford and the Barrymore brothers who run away with the film.

e - z

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I watched both Night Club Scandal and Arsene Lupin last evening. Had never seen either before.

Thought Barrymore was good in the former as the wife killing husband who almost gets away with it, but besides all the many plot coincidences and contrivances in it which makes the use of one's suspension of disbelief a necessity, Barrymore's role is almost secondary to both Charles Bickford's and Lynne Overman, whose wise-cracking newspaper reporter reminded me a lot of Red Skelton.

AH, but in Arsene Lupin, I found Barrymore was at the top of his game and VERY entertaining as the suave and charming thief. He carries that picture.

(...and even though his brother Lionel was also very good as the police inspector attempting to apprehend him)

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12 hours ago, Dargo said:

I watched both Night Club Scandal and Arsene Lupin last evening. Had never seen either before.

Thought Barrymore was good in the former as the wife killing husband who almost gets away with it, but besides all the many plot coincidences and contrivances in it which makes the use of one's suspension of disbelief a necessity, Barrymore's role is almost secondary to both Charles Bickford's and Lynne Overman, whose wise-cracking newspaper reporter reminded me a lot of Red Skelton.

AH, but in Arsene Lupin, I found Barrymore was at the top of his game and VERY entertaining as the suave and charming thief. He carries that picture.

(...and even though his brother Lionel was also very good as the police inspector attempting to apprehend him)

I agree. The Barrymore brothers are both at the top of their game in Arsene Lupin and make very entertaining cat and mouse antagonists with one another. John is charming and elegant in his role. This part can be seen as pretty much the same one he would play again in Grand Hotel. As far as the writing is concerned, though, for a "smart cookie," don't you think Lupin puts an awful lot of stock in depending upon his many underlings to not spill the beans on him?

I also watched Night Club Scandal again, an efficient B programmer, I thought, one of those many films in which a smart aleck reporter gets to follow cops around on a murder investigation and even ask questions of suspects in the middle of the cop's investigation. Barrymore is understated and, you're right, missing from the film for stretches of time. It's certainly not a Barrymore star vehicle. My favourite moment of his performance is when he is about to operate on J. Carol Naish and Naish is indicating the possibility of giving away the game on him. There is a telling closeup of Barrymore's face, his features eerily hardening and a fierce look in his eyes as he hears Carol speak. You can tell that something significant is about to happen as a result of this verbal exchange.

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9 minutes ago, TomJH said:

don't you think Lupin puts an awfully lot of stock in depending upon none of his many underlings not spilling the beans on him?

Yes. The movie might have benefited from an extra scene helping explain why they're all so loyal to him.

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Arsine Lupin is one of my favorite Barrymore Bros. films, along with the fantasy The Return of Peter Grimm. My favorites though are the "smaller" films he did like Topaze '32, State's Attorney '32...I even like The Invisible Woman '40.

The movie I really want to see is WC FIELDS & ME '76 with my other favorite hambone Jack Cassidy playing Barrymore. I bet it's delicious!

My favorite photo of Barrymore- framed 8x10 in my office:

Annex%20-%20Barrymore,%20John_03.jpg

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1 hour ago, TikiSoo said:

Arsine Lupin is one of my favorite Barrymore Bros. films, along with the fantasy The Return of Peter Grimm. My favorites though are the "smaller" films he did like Topaze '32, State's Attorney '32...I even like The Invisible Woman '40.

 

I'm a big fan of Topaze (a really lovely, gentle performance by Barrymore, particularly in his earlier scenes when he plays an idealistic, naive school teacher who has never lived outside of academic circles) and State's Attorney. In the latter John plays his character as slightly potted in most of his scenes, one of the first films in which audiences must have been starting to see Barrymore's real life character merging with that played on screen. The film is slick, efficient and Barrymore delivers a commanding, completely charismatic performance. He was also fun to watch in The Invisible Woman even if he can be accused of playing his character "cutesy."

It's a shame that one of Barrymore's earliest talkies, a comedy, The Man from Blankley's, is a lost film. The actor got solid reviews at the time playing a character in a slightly inebriated condition throughout the film. One of our fellow posters here, Arturo, said that he saw a print of this film when he was young. He may be the only one on these boards to be able to make the claim.

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The lost Man from Blankley's

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