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He’s too sexy for a shirt.

When discussing classic movie star crushes, John Barrymore is not usually an actor that appears on the list of heartthrobs, but for several years now, this elegant human being with his lush sex appeal, majestic charm and his distinctive side profile has continued to surface my preoccupied mind.

Sporting his beautiful tussled hair.

Many years have passed since my passion for classic cinema first evolved. During that time I have met and corresponded with a plethora of film enthusiasts worldwide, and each and everyone of them marvel over the likes and sexual attractiveness of a certain movie star, but ever since the day that I first embarked on this journey through the magical world of the silver screen, I have never encountered anyone who is infatuated in John Barrymore.

That gorgeous tussled hair again.

Some might think it strange that somebody my age would swoon over John Barrymore, an actor whose alcoholism eclipsed his fame and popularity, but when you happen to be a fan-girl like me, you dismiss all that negative talk that has in someway overshadowed his stature. Instead of focusing on the tormented soul that made Barrymore release the demons through drinking, you witness his stately exterior along with his powerful magnetism that he displayed on screen.

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The Great Profile.

Once you look past all that, what you see is pure magic. John Barrymore embodied all the manly qualities that entices me. Apart from being three dimensional, he was extremely handsome. He was suave, he was masculine, and he exuded an air of sophistication that he carried with him at all times, but in addition to all that, he was also ultimately tragic.

The Great Profile.


Away from the camera, John Barrymore led a very storied life. His background was just as colorful as his on-screen persona. Born on February 15th, 1882 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Barrymore hailed from an illustrious family that consisted of a legion of show business personalities. His grandmother, Louisa Lane Drew was a highly esteemed stage actress, who owned the famous Arch Street Theatre, and his parents, Maurice and Georgie flourished in the arts, but the most famous of this theatrical family was John, and his siblings, Ethel and Lionel, who emanated an alluring sparkle over Hollywood and the entertainment industry.

Handsome in every sense of the word.

Initially John had his sights set on being a painter, a profession that seemed inferior to his family, who were immersed in the arts. However, when that idea fell through, and when he finally did decide to embark on a career as an actor, he was often lauded for his sheer versatility and his willingness to portray intense macabre characters that a lot of stars of his caliber tried to elude.

Even though he’s a washed up alcoholic in “Dinner At Eight”, he’s still handsome.


On-screen, John Barrymore was delicious eye candy. Along with being debonair, he was usually always nonchalant, but in addition to that, he had a smooth, polished and refined voice that gracefully supplemented his worldly and expressive characteristics. In short, he epitomized the perfect gentleman. Why wouldn’t a girl like me fall in love with him?

Deliciously handsome.

I was first introduced to John Barrymore when I discovered Grand Hotel years ago, and from the moment I first laid eyes on this legendary actor, who was adorning the screen right in front of me, I was immediately captivated by his alluring charm and sex appeal. After that one performance, I instantly had to delve into his filmography.

Ruggedly handsome.

In Grand Hotel, John Barrymore is exceedingly gorgeous as the aristocratic, penniless Baron, who is living in genteel poverty. Inside, the Baron is a thief, who is inflicted by sadness and desperation, and spends his time searching for money and jewels, but winds up falling in love with a cultured but temperamental ballerina. On the outside however, the Baron is an amiable character that in truth really has a heart of gold.

Suave, sophisticated, and downright cool in “Grand Hotel” ( 1932 )

Don Juan ( 1926 ) is a film that represents eroticism in every sense of the word. If this doesn’t get you sexually aroused, I don’t know what does. Here you see John Barrymore masquerading around in skin tights in a rather provocative state whilst he exudes an aura of sexuality.

The epitome of sexy. “Don Juan” ( 1926 )

In Arsene Lupin, John Barrymore is suave, charismatic, sophisticated and an intelligent human being that inhabits an air of mystery. It is enlightening to watch him play off with Lionel Barrymore as they both get embroiled in criminal actions.

With Lionel in “Arsene Lupin” ( 1932 )

Many people would probably disagree with me here, but Twentieth Century ( 1934 ) is another film where Barrymore’s presence fixates my attention. John Barrymore as Oscar Jaffe is not only classy and elegant, but watching him spoofing a Svengali role is beguiling. There is nothing better than watching an overwrought John Barrymore shamelessly hamming it up, and getting swept into many endless tirades.

Totally hamming it up in “Twentieth Century” ( 1934 )

In Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde ( 1920 ), John Barrymore looks very sprucely and dapper as Henry Jekyll, the highly respected doctor of medicine, who spends his time treating the poor and experimenting in his laboratory, but along with all that charm, there is also a lot of spice when Barrymore unleashes the heinous, and metamorphoses himself into the hideous, Edward Hyde, an abominable creature, who becomes more violent and depraved with each occurring minute.

The amiable Henry Jekyll before the demon was released.

Of course, there are other movies where I swoon over John Barrymore, but if I was to list them all, this post would be never-ending. For those of you who haven’t had the chance to witness the powerful and debonair force known as John Barrymore, please do yourself a favor and treat yourself to his electrifying performances. All I can say is, John Barrymore has certainly enriched my movie-going experience.

John Barrymore and his sister Ethel Barrymore, 1932
He loves his sister, Ethel.

This was my entry for the Reel Infatuation Blogathonhosted by Ruth at Silver Screening, and Maedez at Front And Frock. Click here to see who others swoon over.















  1. Firstly, I am so glad you’re gushing over John Barrymore. A woman on Twitter once told me she has a crush on his hair!

    Secondly, your post is serendipitous, because I borrowed “Grand Hotel” to re-watch this weekend, and now I can view it with your post in mind.

    It really is a shame that he’s more famous for his personal life than his professional career. Drama, comedy, pathos, he was King.

    Thanks so much for joining us, and for bringing Mr Barrymore to the party!


  2. Pingback: #ReelInfatuation Blogathon: Day 5 – Silver Screenings

  3. My goodness! The hair!! Sigh…

    Grand Hotel is the first one I remember seeing him in too and I also recall his intensity. Must admit, I’d never thought of him with such sex appeal before now :-). Thanks for this enlightening post, Crystal! Will check out Don Juan soon as well as Arsene Lupin for the treat of seeing him with his brother.


  4. Very much enjoyed your look at JB and the movies that touch you. I’m a big “Twentieth Century” fan as well.

    Sharing dialogue from “The World of Henry Orient” (1964) of a middle-aged woman speaking to a teenager.

    Erica: “I know. I went through the same thing with John Barrymore.”
    Marian: “Who?”
    Erica: “What did you say?”
    Marian: “This guy you went through it with.”
    Erica: “You mean you’ve never heard of John Barrymore?”
    Marian: “Nope.”
    Erica: “You’ve never even heard his name?”
    Marian: “Nope.”
    Erica: “Excuse me, it’s later than I think.”


  5. I admire John, but I don’t have a cush on him. Well, he looks great in 1922’s Sherlcok Holmes, for sure! But this post really lets us see how much you adore John. It’s heartfelt and beautifully written, congratulations.


  6. I love Barrymore; whatever his demons may have been he was an artist of total commitment, until his very last years when he really couldn’t function.
    I hope you’ve seen Attorney at Law; Barrymore takes the role of a very successful, self-made lawyer married to a society girl who frankly doesn’t love him. During the course of the play, he loses practically everything. There’s a scene where he’s alone in the office after hours and needs to make a phone call using the office switchboard — and Barrymore sits down at the board and handles it just as if he, like the character, had spent years using a business switchboard. And in reality, Barrymore had probably never seem a switchboard before in his life. But his concept of the character was complete.


  7. Mike Noonan

    nice one, Crystal. A different take on this great actor- as a handsome matinee idol as opposed to his acting skills. Always appreciate your insight. Also, love the accompanying pictures to highlight your point.


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