I think Barrymore is wonderful in both silents and talkies, due mostly to expressiveness of his face. His face can say things that words will not. There is a beautiful and touching scene where Lady Margery visits him to let him know that Lord Alvanley is no longer alive. Hoping to rekindle what they once had, she sadly leaves when Brummell refuses, stating he is old, changed and possibly tired of even love. The moment she is gone, you can see Brummell as he realizes he still loves her deeply and opens the door while simultaneously covering his mouth to call out to her. His emotions are at war with the hard truth that he cannot be the man he once was for her and his regrets are weighty. It's an extremely moving scene.
Ironically, as Barrymore is aged throughout the film, he looks more and more like his brother Lionel eventually will in old age in real life. It's downright eerie to watch him play this old man all twisted from loneliness and mental instability.
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