In the depths of the Depression, a party game brings dizzy socialite Irene Bullock to the city dump where she meets Godfrey, a derelict, and ends by hiring him as family butler. He finds the Bullocks to be the epitome of idle rich, and nutty as the proverbial fruitcake. Soon, the dramatizing Irene is in love with her 'protege'...who feels strongly that a romance between servant and employer is out of place, regardless of that servant's mysterious past... Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Ochi Chyornye (Dark Eyes)
Alternately spelled "Ochi (or Otchi) Tchornya (or Chornya, Choirni, Tchorniya)
Lyrics by Yevhen Hrebinka
Played on piano and sung often by Mischa Auer See more »
I don't want to be one of those "they don't make 'em like they used to" people, but I just can't help it when it comes to comedy. We've lost that talent completely, it seems. I can't think of any really great comedies of the past ten years. The golden age for film comedy was the mid 1930s to the mid 1940s (at least for the talkies; silent comedies were a totally different art form). This is also the period of the screwball comedy. My Man Godfrey was one of the first screwball comedies. Films such as Bringing Up Baby and The Lady Eve perfected the form, but My Man Godfrey is nearly as perfect. It isn't quite as funny as Bringing Up Baby nor is it as emotionally resonant as The Lady Eve, but it is funny, it has depression era social commentary (its main theme is identical to Preston Sturges' Sullivan's Travels, beating it by 6 years), and the script is marvelous. The finale is as good as any other comic finale, including the last scene of Some Like it Hot.
The actors are also in top form. William Powell is the straight man, and he plays it very well. All the rest are as nutty as ever. Carole Lombard probably gives her greatest performance here (I suppose I shouldn't say that since I've only seen her in one other film; I can only guess at this since it is one of the funniest performances of film history). Gail Patrick is perfectly devious as Lombard's conniving sister. Eugene Pallette is great as their father. Alice Brady, though, steals the show as their mother, a total fruit cake whose protoge, Carlo (Mischa Auer) does nothing but eat the household's food and pound the same couple of notes on their piano. And look for cameos by MGM regulars Franklin Pangborn and Grady Sutton. 10/10
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