My Man Godfrey
(G, 1:34:14, Released 1936)
|Genres:||Drama, Romance, Classics, Comedy|
|Release Date:||Sep 6, 1936|
|DVD Release Date:||Sep 17, 1998|
|Starring:||William Powell, Carole Lombard, Alice Brady, Gail Patrick, Jean Dixon, Eugene Pallette, Alan Mowbray, Mischa Auer, Robert Light, Pat Flaherty|
|Directed by:||Gregory La Cava|
|Synopsis:||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. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi|
|Full movie details|
|All of Flixster:||(2364)|
My Friends' Reviews
Other Top Reviews
May 8, 2012
A socialite falls for her butler who has a secret about his past.
What great satire. The way the upper classes are exposed as caddy and the way they treat the lower classes as playthings resonates even today when some people wonder at the plight of the poor: "If they don't have enough money, why don't they buy more of it?"
William Powell's performance is of the time, reserved and aloof but occasionally charming, and Carole Lombard nails the flighty Irene Bullock.
Overall, this is a film that has certainly stood the test of time and remains poignantly funny.
April 10, 2012
Incredible cinema! This is why we love Carole Lombard, William Powell and screwball comedies.
December 7, 2011
My Man Godfrey is on of the most perfect and deciptively light hearted romatic comedies of all time. This apparently screwball confection is about the class system, poverty, the dignity of humanity and a true soul match between two people who complete each other. However, you can turn your brain off to those deeper themes and enjoy one of the most wittily written, superbly cast and beautifully shot pieces of black and white artistry from Hollywood's golden era.
It's about a homeless man being instantly enlisted on a whim and made into the butler for a dysfunctional rich family and rising to the occasion. Neither he nor the wacky family are what they first appear to be.
FIrst and foremost in this embarrasment of riches is the indelibly charismatic and intelligent peformances by Powell and Lombard - and their scintillating chemistry. Powell shows great depth with subtlety and perfect comic timing, and Lombard is beautiful, quirky, vulerable and you can't take your eyes off her. They play two interesting, well rounded and flawed people who we filmgoers want desperately to wind up together. Second is the rest of the crackerjack cast, every role cast to perfection. Then is the economical script and direction, where not a scene is longer or shorter than it needs to be, and is peformed with restrained honesty and precision.
The only reason I hold back the last half star to this film is that some aspects of the film have dated, particularly the rushed and pat happy ending, and the over stylized aspects of the production design. If you are someone who can't see through these details to enjoy old movies, I'm not sure this will win you over. However, the Criterion collection version is pristine and crisp, both for sound and picture.
This film could be made into a contemporary feature today, with the exacty same story, and has: Paul Mazursky's Down and Out in Beverly Hills, which is based on a French Jean Renoir film, but that film is more dark and sexual.
My Man Godfrey will grab most viewers from beginning to end and make you laugh and care about the characters. It's a gem.
March 23, 2011
William Powell stars as Godfrey, a "forgotten man" dragged off to a scavenger hunt party by a pair of spoiled rich girls (I guess Paris Hilton is more of a cliche than I thought). While one sister is cold, the other is caring (if somewhat flakey) and decides to hire Godfrey as the family butler. After Godfrey surprises everyone by showing up to work looking like a professional butler, it's revealed there's more to him than meets the eye. And of course, the air-headed girl falls in love with him. The depiction of wealth is pretty typical for the 1930s time period, one reviewer described these people as the "idle rich", but it all gets a little bit one dimensional. The romance seems trumped up, even by screwball farce standards (actually, William Powell and Carole Lombard were divorced three years when they made this film, and it's hard to be romantic towards your ex, even if it is just acting), and the ending of the film, from the homeless solution to the romantic conclusion, seems tacked on. However, some of the set pieces and gags do work, and it's difficult to knock William Powell as just about everything he does has a certain charm.
September 15, 2010
This movie has some great actors, it's sweet and funny, and the story is somewhat different, but there was just something about it that I thought could have been better, I'm not sure what, it just felt like something was missing.
July 27, 2010
A P. G. Wodehouse like comedy exposing the extravagances of the roaring thirties in Manhattan. A time of great beauty & idiocy. It would be hard to imagine hearing this line today: "When his bank failed, he gave up everything so his depositors wouldn't suffer."
May 17, 2010
Not my favorite screwball comedy, but definitely a cutie. Kinda reminded me of Bringing Up Baby, lots of lunatics. But I guess that's the charm. It does have one of those tricky social awareness underlying morals hidden in there. Sneaky 30s. I will have to check out the Thin Man series now.
May 30, 2009
One of those rare near perfect films. The more I see of William Powell, the more I wish I could have sat down and had a beer with him. An extraordinary actor with an amazing range. He is never overstated, always choosing under the top delivery combined with perfect, subtle gestures. Even in the most comedic films of his I've seen -- the Thin Man series, for instance -- he is never overly broad.
I hope I never live to regret this statement via further research, but I can't help but believe that Bill Powell must have been an upstanding and all-embracingly decent human being. Truly, if he was not a wonderful person, I would really rather you not disabuse me of my happy ignorance.
The term "Everyman" might be used too much. But not by me. Powell is the epitome on screen of that proverbial -- to the point of becoming cliche -- Everyman.
This one is an amazing love story on top of a supremely gifted acting display. And yes, it is funny.
Mr. Powell, not only are you on my all-time favorite actor list, but with every film I discover, you are rising to the top of that very small, very revered group. I look forward to living long enough to see every single movie you've ever made.
March 17, 2009
the ever vivacious carole lombard only seems to star in this american 30's"upstairs, downstairs" but actually she's only a stand-in, a mannequin for what hollywood powers-that-be must've thought of most of the a
"girls-next-door", rich or poor: vapid chowderheads. her only real job in this is to admire and long-for the offered smug boy-toy, william powell, who gamely is both "regular guy" hobo and erudite harvard grad, dream man. the lessons he "teaches" the upper class are made-to-order for what hollywood must've believed the lowerer classes (read: ticket buying) public really wanted to hear, which, if one watches, will have one dumbstruck at the audacious stupidity of the plan, played straight and w/o a wink. the only real sparks then in the film are hidden in the scenes between powell and the "bad girl", gail patrick (as smug as powell and blow for blow his equal, his ideal and thus, the right choice), whom he psych-crushes with some smarter-than-thou insightful pity simply because she's hip, knows she's his ever livin' ying, which leaves him bubbleheaded lombard, which powell himself doesn't seem to understand. still, a popular populist bit o'pablum that showcases the strong points of both leads.
November 4, 2007
It had its moments, but all that insanity just left me feeling a little lost.
July 26, 2007
This kind of comedy of manners is the kind of thing that would be made as a vehicle for Adam Sandler these days, and would therefore be mindless, hateful, junk. But starring the likes of Carole Lombard and William Powell, and sporting the kind of witty and insightful screwball script they just don't write any more, it's a joy.
July 24, 2007
My Man Godfrey falls under the I Want To Kick Myself In The Ass For Not Seeing This Sooner category. The characters are all lunatics (save Powell), they're all hilarious and if it weren't for the very, very end My Man Godfrey would be the perfect movie. The scene where Irene and Molly cry about Godfrey had me laughing out loud. So many great moments in this one. I can't recommend it enough.
June 19, 2007
Great Great screwball comedy...Powell's best performance out side of the Thin Man series
November 5, 2006
A classic screwball comedy from the 1930s, this one star William Powell and Carole Lombard. At the height of the Depression, this film became as much a social commentary picture about the division of classes in America as it did a divine comedy about the division of classes in America; and how it ultimately doesn't matter how much money you've got in your pocket in order for love to flourish.
fb721890245January 15, 2014
I loved this film. Godfrey is an absolute delight as an unlikely family butler. A true treat.
November 3, 2013
A comedy from the 30's that actually holds up quite nicely. Still funny, and great performances from William Powell and Carole Lombard... especially Lombard. Did you know that they used to call hobos "forgotten men" back in the day? Well, if you're like me, you'll find that out after watching this movie!
May 30, 2009
Powell gives one of his best performances aside The Thin Man. Lombard, like her characters in Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Twentieth Century, plays a little over-the-top temperamental woman; but it works in this family of crazies. Fun movie to watch.
September 30, 2008
Precise,irritating,clumsy and astoundingly gorgeous.A short length homo-erotic feature at the beginning,a magnitude in the face of Alice Brady,Godfrey is the epitome of spoiled aristocracy in a U.S. film.Courageous La Cava blasts the dialogue and luxury with a tight direction.Just amazing.
January 15, 2014
I think this is the only film I have seen with Carole Lombard in it. Now I understand (even though her character is extremely annoying at times) . Eugene Pallette is hysterical as Lombard's father. Gail Patrick is fantastic as Lombard's sister, as is Alice Brady as the dizzy mother. And of course William Powell's not too bad either. Killer dialogue.
September 17, 2012
My Man Godfrey is everything I love about Hollywood's Golden Age, screwball comedies, and less-than-perfect-but-somehow-still-intoxicating cinema. One of my favorites.
September 21, 2011
I really enjoyed this 1930s screwball comedy. Not my favorite of the genre, but its entertaining in any case. For the best, see Arsenic and Old Lace.
July 8, 2011
Godfrey, a forgotten man found for a scavenger hunt, becomes a butler for a family that is comically crazy. Very good movie, though I think I would have liked it better if there was a bit more insight into who Godfrey liked at some point before the end, though the way it is does keep it as a bit of a surprise, though not entirely.
February 22, 2011
Great movie. Completely enjoyable. First film to be nominated in all four acting categories (also I think it was nominated in the first year they gave out supporting Oscars). Alice Brady so deserved her nomination.
November 29, 2010
Gave this a re-watch, it holds up amazingly well, sharp and clever from start to finish.
William Powell is the quick witted Godfrey, a down on his luck fellow who takes a dim-bulb socialite under his wing, only to have her hire him as the butler for her crazy family.
Godfrey rises to this challenge, but we soon learn that there's more going on in his life than simply being a butler.
Great stuff, recommended.
September 16, 2010
This is one of the craziest and most delightful love stories of all time. William Powell and Carol Lumbard are so perfectly cast. There is a 1957 remake with David Niven that I really want to see.