November 17th, 2019

carole lombard 07

Columbia marches on across the pond




As 1934 began, Columbia crossed its fingers that its two upcoming comedies, "Twentieth Century" and "It Happened One Night," might connect with audiences. Neither were surefire bets despite its star power (John Barrymore and the unproven Carole Lombard in the former, Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert in the latter).

Gable's film slowly became a word-of-mouth hit; Barrymore's drew equally good reviews but never caught fire outside of large cities (although Lombard's performance opened many eyes). So when Columbia planned its push for the British release of "Twentieth Century" in December, it was confident its product would register with UK audiences.

We see that in the studio's British pressbook. Here's its cover:



Note Columbia's approach to the film, calling it far funnier than "It Happened One Night" (which opened in the UK in October):




I absolutely adore this two-page spread of stills from the film. "Captivating Carole," indeed.



The rest of the pressbook:





This fascinating rarity, in decent shape despite its age, can be bought for $250. Go to https://www.ebay.com/itm/CAROLE-LOMBARD-J-BARRYMORE-TWENTIETH-CENTURY-BRITISH-1934-MOVIE-PRESSBOOK/382464463613?hash=item590ca892fd:g:I9gAAOSw0GNa~GsA for all the information.
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