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Too Much, Too Soon 1958
Description: The daughter of iconic actor John Barrymore becomes reunited with her father after a ten year estrangement and engages in his self-destructive lifestyle.
Released: 17 Apr 1958 Director: Art Napoleon Writers: Art Napoleon (screenplay), Jo Napoleon (screenplay), Diana Barrymore (book), Gerold Frank (book) Actors: Dorothy Malone, Errol Flynn, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Ray Danton Genres: Biography, Drama, Romance
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Too Much, Too Soon Reviews:

Flynn was released from his Warner contract in 1953, he returned in 1958 to enjoy his dear mate John Barrymore in this autobiographical film. Due to legal complications at the time the resulting script was intentionally vague.I play this movie because of Errol Flynns' sympathetic and moving performance of a charming rogue at fight with himself.A moody drama The movie concentrates on Barrymores' daughter and her need for love in life.The movie was based on her book. Dorothy Malone is unbelievable in that role. It also is done well in black and white. The vague script means alot is missed, we only glimpse the complex characters. The movie is worth watching for Malones' performance and Flynns' sympathetic turn in a rare dramatic part.(On a lighter note, while he knew John Barrymore well he didn't look at all like 'the nice profile', so Flynn was assisted by makeup and given Mr Barrymores' distinctive Nose.)


Based on the 1957 autobiography of Diana Barrymore, Too Much, Too Later is one of a series of movie biographies produced by Hollywood in the 1950's dealing with present business personalities. While the second half of the movie dissolves into soap opera antics, the first hour is remarkably compelling.This is entirely due to the touching and profoundly sad performance of Errol Flynn, cast as the legendary crash of a once nice actor, John Barrymore. Flynn had been a crony and admirer of the Nice Profile in the latter's final years of alcoholic excess. The two boys had much in common, talent, fame, and success, along with self-loathing and huge streaks of self-destructive behaviour. Tragically, Flynn, though he would never know it, even had his own ver of Diana Barrymore, a daughter of whom he saw tiny who, like her father, would be cursed with private demons, a life of potential squandered with drug addiction that preceded an early death. That, however, would be almost forty years after Flynn had performed his own incrementally slow suicide through alcohol and drugs. Flynn adopts several of Barrymore's mannerisms. Instead, his performance splendidly captures the inner turmoil and vulnerability of the Nice Profile in his wilderness years, as well as one startling stage in which he depicts the mean, violent drunk that should emerge. There is a sadness and loneliness at the soul of this characterization, made all the more strong because what the viewer is seeing is largely a reflection of Flynn himself. After years of self-indulgence and with a nice career that had all but vanished, Flynn knew only too well the anguish that Barrymore felt towards the end. There is also the irony of a stage in which Flynn, as Barrymore, regales a tiny gathering of folks in a closed theatre with anecdotes about some of the old-time Hollywood personalities he had known. A year after Too Much, Too Soon's release Flynn would be doing the same thing again, but actually in true life at a personal party, mins before he suffered his fatal heart attack. Among the folks that he discussed was John Barrymore.The theme of the movie is of a kid of privilege, denied love by her self-absorbed parents, who spends her life seeking that love as she descends into an increasingly sordid globe of alcohol and abusive relationships. It's a cute grim storyline though now cleaned up for this movie version. Diana Barrymore's finished storyline was even more degrading than the one vaguely depicted in the screenplay of Art Napoleon, who also directed the film. Nor is any mention made of the fact that Diana's first husband, played by Efrem Zimbalist Jr., is based on the actor Bramwell Fletcher, who had now co-starred with her father eleven years before, in one of Barrymore's best movie triumphs, Svengali.There are also, no surprise for a Hollywood product, some embellishments with the truth. One of the film's greatest scenes involves Flynn, as Barrymore, making a person-to-person call to Diana's mother, whom he had divorced years before, because he wants a second chance. It's a nice moment for the actor, a closeup on his face as his eyes first register fear then hopeful anticipation as he hears the smartphone ring at the another end, followed by a look of dejection when the operator comes on line to announce that the call isn't being answered. The true Barrymore, however, had two stormy marriages after that divorce (never mentioned in the screenplay, among many another things) and was engaged in an obsessive love-hate relationship with his fourth wife (Elaine Barrie) at the time that Diana briefly moved in with him. I've never read any indication that he still carried a torch for Diana's mother, as Napoleon's writing would have you believe.Flynn's performance is haunting but once his hero dies at the film's half method mission there's tiny reason for the viewer to continue to watch. Diana Barrymore's own storyline is decidedly less interesting, as she runs through a succession of men, most of them predictably very terrible for her. Dorothy Malone, new off her greatest helping actress Oscar victory for Written on the Wind, is quite nice in the lead role but the viewer still feels robbed that Flynn is no longer on screen.After a final hour of watching Diana Barrymore's descent into a private hell, the movie ends on a slightly upbeat note with the indication of a possible rehabilitation for the main character. Unfortunately, it was not to be for the true Barrymore who would die from a drug overdose less than two years after this film's release (and just four months after Flynn's demise).It's a cautionary tale of celebrity self-destruction, made memorable by the heart rending performance of a boy who channelled his own life storyline into that of the mate he portrayed.


Too Much, Too Soon, the movie adaption of Diana Barrymore's memoirs if things went right for her could have been a final chapter with a they lived happily ever after closing on her true existence. Sad to tell though that the writing of the ebook as a cautionary tale to others to avoid her pitfalls, she still couldn't avoid them herself. Two years after To Much, Too Later came out, Diana Barrymore died of all the years of accumulated indulgences of many vices.Having never seen any of her work I'm really not in a position to comment, but assuming she was as terrible as most seem to think she was, she never had an occasion to really learn her craft. Because of her name and a couple of bit parts on scene she was rushed out to Hollywood and given the large buildup. When she flopped all she should do was trade in on the name.Dorothy Malone after her Oscar winning role as the hedonistic heiress in Written On The Wind was excellent to enjoy Diana who decided to discover all the vices in a desperate find for love. Being caught between two estranged parents she wasn't at home in either of their worlds. She was the offspring of John Barrymore and Blanche Oelrichs aka Michael Strange. It was the second marriage for both. Succeeding husbands and wives are not in this film, nor are her half brothers, sons of Oelrich from her first marriage. Blanche Oelrich had a succeeding marriage after Barrymore, and The Nice Profile had two more wives after divorcing Diana's mother.One thing that is very delicately hinted at with Kathleen Freeman's brief role is the lesbianism of Blanche Oelrich. After three marriages Blanche Oelrich had a relationship with a girl in the last years of her life. If Too Much, Too Later were made today that would be more totally explained. Neva Patterson is a concerned Oelrich in this, a pretty performance as a girl who can't reach her out of control daughter falling under the influence of her father.Errol Flynn had quite a bit of life experience to draw on for testing John Barrymore. He knew Barrymore quite well in Hollywood and partied hearty with him as Barrymore died slowly of dissipation. Flynn was dying from it as well and he knew it. This has to be the only time in history where an actor was testing older than his years without makeup. Flynn was 49 testing a 60 year old Barrymore who was that when he died in 1942. Diana had three husbands all various types played in succession by Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Ray Danton, and Ed Kemmer. She could have hung on to Zimbalist who was testing in actuality Bramwell Fletcher under a pseudonym. He leaves to go on a film zone and she begins fooling around with tennis bum/gigolo Ray Danton. He's nice in the part of a truly sadistic evil man. As for number three, he was a bit actor who was as much an alcoholic as she and Kemmer and Malone were a terrible combination, but nice in their performances.Too Much, Too Later is very related to a movie Warner Brothers did the year before about other alcoholic performer, Helen Morgan. Morgan was a star and on talent, not starting at the top because of a name. Still she went through a several husbands and many a binge and the ending their was a cop out with the promise of a recovery which never happened in true life. Diana Barrymore's self destruction was down the same street Morgan took only she died after Too Much, Too Later came out.It could have ended better for Diana Barrymore. But Dorothy Malone brings her vividly to life and she's got a ebook and a movie to commemorate what might have been.



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