Too Much, Too Soon

This cinematic version of Diana Barrymore's tell-all autobiography leaves out too much and doesn't end soon enough. Malone does well as the star-crossed daughter of John Barrymore (Flynn) and socialite Blanche Oelrichs (Patterson), who wrote poetry under the name of Michael Strange. It is a depressing tale of a girl who seeks affection from parents who...read more

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This cinematic version of Diana Barrymore's tell-all autobiography leaves out too much and doesn't end soon enough. Malone does well as the star-crossed daughter of John Barrymore (Flynn) and socialite Blanche Oelrichs (Patterson), who wrote poetry under the name of Michael Strange. It is

a depressing tale of a girl who seeks affection from parents who are too busy to offer it. This causes her to take a trio of husbands. The first is Zimbalist, a nice enough chap who can't handle her drinking. Then she teams up with the sadistic and vicious Danton, who is so good at making us

despise him that audiences hated him for three pictures after this one. Her last husband is Kemmer, a man who has sworn off the bottle. The episodic tale takes us through Malone's degradation as she attempts to make a career of acting. The film conveys the impression that she only appeared in one

film and was a dismal failure, but that's not the case. In reality, she made three films in 1942 alone, EAGLE SQUADRON; BETWEEN US GIRLS; and NIGHTMARE. In 1942, she appeared in FRONTIER BADMEN and FIRED WIFE. In 1944, she was in LADIES COURAGEOUS. The movie glosses over her amorous adventures

with several men and doesn't touch upon the stage success she had with "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." Flynn came back to Warner Bros. to make this movie, his contract having lapsed in 1954 when he made his last movie for the Burbank lot, THE MASTER OF BALLANTRAE. He and John Barrymore had been buddies

until Barrymore died in 1942 at the age of 62. Flynn was able to pull off the impersonation in a couple of scenes, mainly due to the excellent makeup and hair styling, but, overall, the effort was less than successful. Bad editing, old stock shots, lethargic direction, and documentary-style

cinematography all work against the picture. In small roles, note radio's "Mr. District Attorney," Jay Jostyn, and funnyman Louis Quinn (Roscoe on "77 Sunset Strip" with Zimbalist). The frankness of the story makes it ill-suited for children.