My Man Godfrey

My Man Godfrey

4.6 5
Director: Gregory La Cava

Cast: Gregory La Cava, William Powell, Carole Lombard, Alice Brady

     
 

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One of the landmark "screwball" comedies of the 1930s, My Man Godfrey offers the radiant Carole Lombard in her definitive performance as flighty young heiress Irene Bullock, who on a society scavenger hunt stumbles on Godfrey (William Powell), an erudite hobo residing in the city dump. Godfrey becomes the family's butler, much toSee more details below

Overview

One of the landmark "screwball" comedies of the 1930s, My Man Godfrey offers the radiant Carole Lombard in her definitive performance as flighty young heiress Irene Bullock, who on a society scavenger hunt stumbles on Godfrey (William Powell), an erudite hobo residing in the city dump. Godfrey becomes the family's butler, much to the dismay of Irene's father Alexander (Eugene Pallette), who thinks his household is crazy enough without another apparent lunatic under his roof. Halfway through the film, we discover that Godfrey isn't a penniless bum at all, but the scion of a wealthy Boston family. Having been burned by an unhappy romance, Godfrey dropped out of life, taking up residence in the dump. Here his faith in humanity was restored by his fellow indigents, who managed to survive and remain optimistic despite the worst deprivations. Meanwhile, however, he wants to straighten out the Bullock family, who he feels are a basically decent bunch beneath all their pretensions and eccentricities -- and along the way, of course, Irene determines that Godfrey will be her husband. While Godfrey's ultimate "solution" to the exigencies of the Depression seems more of a placebo, My Man Godfrey is all in all a totally satisfying jolt of 1930s-style wish fulfillment.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Donald Gray
My Man Godfrey firmly established Carole Lombard (To Be or Not to Be) as Hollywood's premier screen comedienne in the 1930s; and it has since taken its rightful place in the pantheon of essential screwball comedies. Lombard steals the show as Irene, a loopy New York heiress who tabs down-on-his-luck Godfrey Smith (played by Lombard's real-life former husband, William Powell) as the "forgotten man" she needs to complete a scavenger hunt. Captivated by the unflappable Godfrey, she hires him on "to butle" for her eccentric family, with hopes of eventually grooming him to be her de facto protégé. One aspect of the film's genius is displayed in the casting of its hard-luck hero: Contemporary audiences couldn't help but feel that if someone as sophisticated as Powell (The Thin Man) could bottom out, then surely anyone could. And Gregory La Cava's directing style (much of the dialogue was reworked on the set during production) finds its natural complement in the skill of his extraordinary supporting cast. Eugene Pallette excels as Irene's gravel-voiced father, while Alice Brady plays the role of the strong-willed but oblivious mother at perfect pitch. The underrated Gail Patrick keeps the story moving as the vengeful brat trying to upset her younger sister's fantasy; and Mischa Auer provides the film with some of its funniest moments playing Carlo, the ludicrous high society parasite willing to degrade himself in any manner required to stay in the family's good graces. While the politics of this class comedy are a bit confused -- what begins as a vaguely Marxist critique of American capitalism eventually dissolves into a rather reactionary climax -- they never threaten to disturb the delightfully charmed and topsy-turvy world that La Cava and his gifted performers have created.

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Product Details

Release Date:
04/19/2005
UPC:
0024543176602
Original Release:
1936
Rating:
NR
Source:
20th Century Fox
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:33:00

Special Features

Closed Caption; All-new colorized version; Original Black-and-white version; Original theatrical trailer

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Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
William Powell Actor
Carole Lombard Irene Bullock,Actor
Alice Brady Actor
Gail Patrick Cornelia Bullock
Jean Dixon Molly
Eugene Pallette Alexander Bullock
Ernie S. Adams Forgotten Man
Mischa Auer Carlo
Jack Chefe Headwaiter
Chick Collins Double for William Powell
Phyllis Crane Party guest
Eddie Fetherstone Process Server
Grace Field Actor
Pat Flaherty Mike
James Flavin Second Detective
Bess Flowers Party Guest
Edward Gargan Detective
David S. Horsley Actor
Selmar Jackson Blake, a Guest
Robert Light Faithful George
Reginald Mason Mayor
Alan Mowbray Tommy Gray
Franklin Pangborn Master of Ceremonies
Bob Perry Bob, the Hobo
Katherine Perry Actor
Robert Perry Doorman
Jean Rogers Girl
Arthur Singley Chauffeur
Grady Sutton Van Rumple
Arthur Wanzer Man
David Ward Van Rumple
Harley Wood Socialite
Jane Wyman Party Guest

Technical Credits
Gregory La Cava Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Charles Hall Art Director
Ted Tetzlaff Cinematographer
Travis Banton Costumes/Costume Designer
Ted Kent Editor
Russell Schoengarth Editor
Charles R. Rogers Executive Producer
Charles Previn Musical Direction/Supervision,Score Composer
Eric Hatch Screenwriter
Morris Ryskind Screenwriter
John P. Fulton Special Effects

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Forgotten Man Found [14:45]
2. Godfrey on the Job [10:59]
3. Fifth Avenue Frolics [13:08]
4. Irene the Drama Queen [10:31]
5. The Set Up [17:50]
6. Godfrey's Plan [2:43]
7. Trouble Back at the Bullock's [16:56]
8. Irene Gets Her Man [6:10]

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