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My Man Godfrey (1936)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 6 September 1936 (USA)
A scatterbrained socialite hires a vagrant as a family butler...but there's more to Godfrey than meets the eye.

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(screen play), (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

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Storyline

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 <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

6 September 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Al servicio de las damas  »

Box Office

Budget:

$656,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (2005 DVD release)

Sound Mix:

(Western Noiseless Recording Electric)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jane Wyman has an uncredited role. She can be seen standing at the back of the crowd in the Waldorf Ritz Hotel as Godfrey makes his speech condemning them all as "nitwits". See more »

Goofs

The background footage of the 59th Street Bridge used in Godfrey's office is from the opposite side of the river to the footage used for the outdoor scenes at "The Dump". See more »

Quotes

Cornelia Bullock: You can't go on like this forever. You really like me and you're afraid to admit it, aren't you?
Godfrey: You want me to tell you what I REALLY think of you?
Cornelia Bullock: Please do.
Godfrey: As Smith or as a butler?
Cornelia Bullock: Choose your own weapon.
Godfrey: You won't hold it against me?
Cornelia Bullock: It's your day off.
Godfrey: Very well. You belong to that unfortunate category that I would call the "Park Avenue brat". A spoiled child who's grown up in ease and luxury... who's always had her own way... and who's misdirected energies are so childish that they hardly...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits features a darkened city skyline and the names of the cast and crew appear as the camera pans across lighted billboards and neon signs. See more »

Connections

Featured in Film Preview: Episode #1.4 (1966) See more »

Soundtracks

Der Deitcher's Dog (Oh Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone)
(1864) (uncredited)
Traditional
Based on the German folk song "Zu Lauterbach Hab' I Mein Strumpf Velor'n"
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Classic Screwball Comedy
31 October 2000 | by (Nebraska) – See all my reviews

My Man Godfrey is a classic ensemble film with Carole Lombard and William Powell at the helm. The comedic timing is nearly perfect and the script is a winner. Character actors Eugene Palette and Mischa Auer absolutely shine. Lombard defined screwball with her on and off screen antics. Her portrayal of the rich and flighty (yet ultimately wise) Irene Bullock is one of her best performances. Powell's Godfrey matches her step for step, and Powell does one better by showing us depth in his character rather than play straight man to her every madcap move.

The movie is fast-paced and defines the word zany. What is worth noting though is that in many ways it is a commentary of the times by comparing the 'haves' and 'have nots'. I would encourage everyone to watch with more than a comedic eye. Through Godfrey, director Gregory La Cava's film speaks volumes about the conditions of the 1930s. The U.S. was plunged in a depression that forced thousands to the breadlines. The film opens with a treasure hunt and one of the items to find is a forgotten man. The rich set out to the city dump to locate him with no regard for his plight or his dignity. The man they bring back as the prize is Godfrey, who soon is employed by the Bullock family as their butler. Powell and Gail Patrick as Irene's snooty sister, Cornelia, are the antithesis of each other and some of the best social barbs are exchanged between them. Keeping their esteemed place in society is paramount to the Bullock family, and only the father (Pallette) ever seems to worry about money. However, La Cava does not allow the film to wallow in pity for those less fortunate. The film amuses throughout but it is a real art to weave social commentary into a comedy without banging you over the head. La Cava pulls it off beautifully.

La Cava, Lombard, Powell, Auer, and Alice Brady all deservedly earned Academy Award nominations. This movie will make you laugh and it should. It is very, very funny. It should also make you think. I suspect if you do both, Mr. La Cava and his wonderful cast will have done their jobs.


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