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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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Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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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 »

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Details

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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

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

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 »

Quotes

Irene: Godfrey's gonna be our butler.
Angelica Bullock: He's gonna be who's butler?
Irene: He's gonna work for us.
Angelica Bullock: Oh, that's ridiculous. You don't know anything about him. He hasn't any recommendations...
Irene: Well, the last one had recommendations and stole all the silver.
Angelica Bullock: Well, that was merely a coincidence.
Godfrey: People who take in stray cats say they make the best pets, madam.
Angelica Bullock: I don't see what cats have got to do with butlers.
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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

Version of My Man Godfrey (1957) 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"
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
We've really lost something nowadays
4 July 2001 | by (Saint Paul, MN) – See all my reviews

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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