Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, January 16, 2014


John (Ray Danton) gives Diana (Dottie Malone) a back rub
TOO MUCH, TOO SOON (1958). Director: Art Napoleon.

"I don't want to write a book about my life. Living it was bad enough." -- Diana Barrymore.

"I am fifty-nine years old. And not as drunk as you think. Why don't you take what I offer and not make me jump through hoops?' --John Barrymore.

In this somewhat sanitized version of Diana Barrymore's memoir of the same name, Diana (Dorothy Malone) wishes she could get to know her father, John Barrymore (Errol Flynn) better, but her mother, Blanche (Neva Patterson) isn't too thrilled with the notion. Diana decides to follow in her great family's footsteps and become an actress, discovering that her famous name opens doors but won't necessarily deliver decent scripts. As he was still alive at the time of filming, her first husband, Bramwell Fletcher, is represented by the made-up character of "Vincent Bryant" (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.), who comes home to find Diana diddling in their bedroom with sleazy tennis bum, John Howard (Ray Danton), a real-life man who becomes her second husband. Diana's third husband, actor Robert Wilcox, is portrayed by Ed Kemmer [Earth vs the Spider];  she and Wilcox become mired in a maze of booze, poverty and blown opportunities. Writer Gerald Frank, who helped craft the memoir, is portrayed by Robert Ellenstein. Too Much, Too Soon is psychologically simplistic, but well-acted, with Malone doing a swell job as Diana, with fine support from Patterson and the others. Errol Flynn is the big surprise, turning in a fine performance as the dissipated Barrymore [ironic, considering what lay in Flynn's future]. Smaller roles are performed by Kathleen Freeman and Martin Milner, and there's a nice score by Ernest Gold.

Verdict: Lurid but quite entertaining and reasonably well-made. ***. 


CavedogRob said...

Flynn's performance makes it worth seeing!

William said...

Yes, he's very good and the perfect choice for the role!