I somehow missed the existence of a Barrymore / Lombard / Hawks / Sturges / Hecht collaboration... until now. An often exasperating love letter to creative psychotics. You're tricked into believing the movie works, even when it doesn't, because it never gives you time to breath, from either laughter or panting. Barrymore goes full dementia to a point where his flailing hair is almost a supporting cast member.
Barrymore gives one of the great portrayals of the old-school actor manager. It really comes to life in the second half when both he and Lombard are given free reign to revel in each other's capacity to turn on a sixpence with their emotions and recognise how their (in)authenticity has been the price of their art. Anarchic and farcical, it's also a very enjoyable satire and celebration of theatricality.
A very enjoyable screwball comedy that benefits from great performances from John Barrymore and Carole Lombard. It's just a shame that it never really feels as quick and sharp as many that followed, but this certainly deserves to be seen if you're interested at all in the films of Howard Hawks specifically, and the comedy genre in general.
Lombard is so good (the perfect blend of tomboy and sexiness) and Barrymore channels his wild-eyed theatrical demagogue (German expressionist eyes with the body language of Hitler) in this very funny screwball comedy. OTT certainly, but a look at the world of showbiz calls for a lack of restraint if anything does, and the script holds up, considering the antics of today's primadonnas.