The same florid, familiar and everloving treatment accorded Barrymore in Goodnight, Sweet Prince, is here applied to a lesser but perhaps larger audienced, luminary of the entertainment world. For James Francis Durante is pictured as not only the clown laureate of theatre, moving pictures, radio and TV, but also as a simple, warmhearted personality in his own large, friendly world. His story carries through from the confines of an immigrant Italian family to the limitless boundaries of international fame. Perhaps the nightclub years, of the '20's and gangsters and prohibition and their hard to handle incidents, is the most colorful, but his rise with Clayton and Jackson, his musical comedy appearances, his marriage -- battered but never broken by commitments and his wife's sickness -- his capacity for loyalty and kindness -- are not without appeal. And his long, close association with Clayton, who died in the traces while guarding Durante's career, is a story in itself. Fowler makes the most of ""the dictionary's worst enemy"", his fine frenzies, frustrations and confusions and loses nothing of his subject's ""shrinking violence"".