My Man Godfrey

My Man Godfrey

4.5 4
Director: Gregory La Cava

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

     
 
Considered by many as one of the best examples of 1930s screwball comedy, My Man Godfrey could also be touted as one of the funniest Hollywood films from any era. This disc from the Criterion Collection showcases the film in all its rambunctious glory, and offers up a beautifully remastered print that puts to shame any previous video outing. Shown in its

Overview

Considered by many as one of the best examples of 1930s screwball comedy, My Man Godfrey could also be touted as one of the funniest Hollywood films from any era. This disc from the Criterion Collection showcases the film in all its rambunctious glory, and offers up a beautifully remastered print that puts to shame any previous video outing. Shown in its theatrical aspect ratio of 1.33:1 (full-frame), the black-and-white picture is sharp and perfectly detailed, with little or no glare from the whites while keeping the blacks consistently balanced and velvety. Truly a magnificent job, especially considering how old the film is and that previous video outings have been lackluster, image and sound wise. The disc has been equipped with an excellent, lively, and informative commentary track by film historian Bob Gilpen. His affection for the film is obvious and he easily convinces one of Godfrey's cinematic greatness, as well as some of its shortcomings. He also offers up some interesting anecdotes pertaining to the film's production and its stars, William Powell and Carole Lombard. The commentary is a definite plus and should warrant more than one listen. Also included on the disc are a few rare outtakes from the film, including a couple of clips of Lombard and her notorious foul mouth, as well as some less "scandalous" bloopers. The complete 60-minute 1938 Lux Radio Theater presentation of Godfrey has also been included on the disc. The requisite still gallery and original theatrical trailer are also available. All in all, a fantastic disc.

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.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/31/2001
UPC:
0715515011921
Original Release:
1936
Rating:
NR
Source:
Criterion
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[B&W]
Sound:
[monaural]
Time:
1:33:00
Sales rank:
925

Special Features

Rare outtakes; audio commentary by film historian Bob Gilpin; the complete 1938 broadcast of the Lux Radio Theater adaptation, starring Powell and Lombard; production stills archive; original theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Chapters
1. Logos/Titles [1:36]
2. The Forgotten Men [5:03]
3. Beating Cornelia [5:12]
4. Can You Butle? [3:00]
5. Butling For The Bullocks [5:11]
6. A Protege For Irene [5:47]
7. Family Matters [5:30]
8. Monkey Business [4:47]
9. Just A Quiet Evening [2:50]
10. An Empty Bubble [3:05]
11. A Harvard Man [7:25]
12. The Park Avenue Brat [6:10]
13. Girl Talk [4:31]
14. An Inside Job [:19]
15. Cornelia Foiled [4:00]
16. A Man With A Plan [2:48]
17. Not The Fusing Kind [2:43]
18. A Heart To Heart [2:24]
19. Taking Care Of Irene [4:28]
20. Saved By The Butler [4:27]
21. It'll All Be Over In A Minute [6:07]

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My Man Godfrey 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
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