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My Man Godfrey (1936)

Not Rated | | Romance, Comedy | 17 September 1936 (USA)
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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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Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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The eccentric Bullock household again need a new butler. Daughter Irene encounters bedraggled Godfrey Godfrey at the docks and, fancying him and noticing his obviously good manners, gets ... See full summary »

Director: Henry Koster
Stars: June Allyson, David Niven, Jessie Royce Landis
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Cast

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Robert Light ...
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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:

Romance | Comedy

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

17 September 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Al servicio de las damas  »

Box Office

Budget:

$656,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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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

When Irene, portrayed by Carole Lombard, and Molly, portrayed by Jean Dixon, are sobbing in the kitchen, Godfrey, portrayed by William Powell, comes in, tipsy after his drinking bout with Tommy, portrayed by Alan Mowbray. The lines of the song he sings are "for tomorrow may bring sorrow/ So tonight let's all be gay./ Tell the story of the glory". These lines come from "Drink a Highball", a song of Harvard's Ivy League rival, University of Pennsylvania. The lines continue "of Pennsylvania." The writers likely cut it off to avoid the obvious contradiction of a Harvard man singing a Penn song, no matter how appropriate to his imbibing. See more »

Goofs

When Cornelia & Faithful George return to the scavenger hunt at the Waldorf Ritz, Cornelia addresses Godfrey by name, even though she had not actually learned it by that point in the film. See more »

Quotes

Detective: [notices Carlo by the french doors] Who's that?
Irene: It's mother's protegé.
Detective: No wisecracks. Is that your son?
Alexander Bullock: That? Say, listen. I've made a lot of mistakes in my life, but I'll be hanged if I'll plead guilty to that!
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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

Referenced in You Bet Your Life: Episode #8.19 (1958) See more »

Soundtracks

Ochi Chyornye (Dark Eyes)
(1843) (uncredited)
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 »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
I see a room full of empty headed nitwits!
4 March 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

If I was the sort of person who scrutinised every frame of my viewings looking for flaws, then I still wouldn't have issue here because My Man Godfrey has no cracks in its make up. It is perfect cinema from a golden age that we rarely see in this day and age. During a rich peoples socialite scavenger hunt, air head Irene Bullock wins the contest to see who can find a forgotten man, a hobo, and showcase him at the toffs party. She falls for the charisma of down and out Godfrey Parke and gives him the job of Butler to the family Bullock, this of course bemuses the family, even more so when Godfrey turns out to be far more than they originally thought.

My Man Godfrey is one of those old classic comedies that has satire at its heart, here the rich are firmly in the target sights of the makers, for it's they who come across as bumbling buffoons, whilst Godfrey the hobo is the one with tact and grace, he is the one they all should take their markers from. Yet as important as the social message is here, it's the brilliant comedy that comes to the fore, this is an electric script benefiting from great work from all involved. William Powell is Godfrey, it's a perfect performance as he is never flustered yet delivering funny lines with caustic impact. Carole Lombard is just precious as the dopey love sick Irene, her interplay with Powell is comedy gold. My favourite of the bunch tho is Eugene Palette as Alexander, the father of this bizarro family, every mannerism and every line out of his mouth had me in stitches. I must also mention that of the 6 Oscars the film was nominated for, I'm stunned there wasn't one for Gail Patrick as Cornelia, it's devilishly icy and weasel like, and she impacted hard on me to the point that I wanted to strangle her, a great performance from her.

Truth is, they are all great, from the actors to the director, from the editor to the writer, My Man Godfrey is a truly brilliant film that easily entered my top 100 greatest films list today. 10/10


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Does anyone else feel sorry for Godfrey ar the end? pandora8
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