copyright 1944; The Viking Press publishers, New York; hardbound in burgundy boards with gilt and black design and lettering on cover and spine; quite good condition with unmarked pages; inside cover has "Richard J. B..." signature - unsure of who this is; wonderful photos of John Barrymore; no dust jacket.
Gene Fowler has told the story. Barrymore was his friend, and his book is warm with the affection that flowed between them. The author respects Barrymore too much, however to apologize for him; he admires Barrymore's talents too much to pretend that those talents were not often thrown away. Fowler does not employ sensation for its own sake or dwell on disaster for its morbid interest; but neither does he insult Barrymore by making him respectable. His subject was a great man, and while that does not necessarily mean that he was a sensible one, it does mean that in the hands of a writer as Fowler he becomes the hero of a moving and engrossing human history.
There is a great deal of humor in Good Night, Sweet Prince, for Barrymore was a wit and he consorted with his peers. There is a satisfying amount of the theatre in it, for it spans the period from the great figures of John Drew and Maurice Barrymore to the golden streets of Hollywood in its most spectacular era. There are moments of intense excitement in these pages - the opening night of Hamlet being perhaps the greatest dramatic climax; there are happy and idyllic passages, and there are the others when happiness was destroyed forever as Barrymore brought the roof of his fame crashing down on his head.
In addition to his own knowledge of Barrymore, Fowler has had access to his papers. He as read the actor's journal, and he publishes here for the first time long passages from this private autobiography.