The film remains an over-appreciated curiosity piece, but the DVD treatment is all-around first rate.
There’s a cult around Howard Hawks, who was unquestionably one of the most competent filmmakers of his era.
The central conceit, that theater is the house of true art and film the way station of the illiterate, might’ve come off as self-important on stage.
Witness John Barrymore’s brash thee-at-ah director remove puddy from his nose for the sake of his art.
The film organizes its space within a nodal web of slightly claustrophobic locations, always shrouded in fog or cigarette smoke.