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 »
Jessie Royce Landis
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>
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 »
At the Tea Party While Irene is talking to Charlie Van Rumple, in the background you see Godfrey serving Cornelia with a tray and she takes an item in each hand. A few seconds later the scene shifts to Cornelia, and Godfrey again serves her and she takes the two items again. See more »
Godfrey's gonna be our butler.
He's gonna be who's butler?
He's gonna work for us.
Oh, that's ridiculous. You don't know anything about him. He hasn't any recommendations...
Well, the last one had recommendations and stole all the silver.
Well, that was merely a coincidence.
People who take in stray cats say they make the best pets, madam.
I don't see what cats have got to do with butlers.
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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 »
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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