7.4/10
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Merrily We Live (1938)

Passed | | Comedy, Romance | 4 March 1938 (USA)
Dizzy society matron Emily Kilbourne has a habit of hiring ex-cons and hobos as servants. Her latest find is a handsome "tramp" who shows up at her doorstep and soon ends up in a ... See full summary »

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Writers:

(screen play), (screen play)
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Nominated for 5 Oscars. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Grosvenor - Butler
...
...
Etta
...
Minerva Harlan
...
Clarence Kolb ...
...
...
Mrs. Harlan
...
Herbert Wheeler
Willie Best ...
George
...
2nd Butler
...
Senator Harlan
Marjorie Kane ...
Rosa
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Storyline

Dizzy society matron Emily Kilbourne has a habit of hiring ex-cons and hobos as servants. Her latest find is a handsome "tramp" who shows up at her doorstep and soon ends up in a chauffeur's uniform. He also catches the eye of her pretty Geraldine. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

tramp | servant | hobo | chauffeur | wealth | See All (55) »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

4 March 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Madame et son clochard  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although not credited onscreen or noted by reviewers or the SAB, this film is so similar to What a Man (1930) (same plot and even many of the same character names) that the source of the screenplay must surely be the same for both films. Both the 1924 novel "The Dark Chapter; a Comedy of Class Distinctions" by E.J. Rath and the play "They All Want Something" has been added to the writers section. The play opened on Broadway in New York City, New York, USA on 12 October 1926 and closed in December 1926 after 62 performances. See more »

Quotes

Marian Kilbourne: I hope he stole the piano so I don't have to practice any more.
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Crazy Credits

Behind the opening credits, the cast walks arm in arm up the driveway towards the camera. See more »

Connections

References My Man Godfrey (1936) See more »

Soundtracks

Tramp! Tramp! Tramp! (The Boys Are Marching)
(1864) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by George Frederick Root
Sung a cappella by Bonita Granville
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User Reviews

 
A Very Merry Movie
26 May 2004 | by (Forest Ranch, CA) – See all my reviews

A highly intelligent ‘tramp' is hired to become chauffeur for an eccentric, wealthy family.

MERRILY WE LIVE is a prime example of a tremendously funny screwball comedy which has become undeservedly obscure with the passage of time. Bright & breezy, with snappy dialogue and some wonderful performances, it is a complete delight. The production values are excellent and the film's free spirit is perfectly encapsulated by the opening shot in which the principal cast marches arm-in-arm along the estate's long driveway while the credits and title song role.

Suave, sophisticated and just a wee bit naughty, British Brian Aherne is the perfect match for crisply cool blonde Constance Bennett. Their growing attraction to each other, hidden behind a rivalry for intellectual dominance, is great fun to watch. This ‘hobo' has much to teach the rich girl about life & love.

A very fine supporting cast offers much to the film's enjoyment. In one of her best roles, dithering Billie Burke, as Miss Bennett's utterly out-of-touch mother, is a complete joy. Alan Mowbray plays the proper English butler who experiences frequent bouts of emotional distress. Ensconced in the kitchen, tough-talking Patsy Kelly is the family's cook with a strong yen to stir-up some romance with handsome Aherne.

Impressively agile Clarence Kolb is Miss Burke's grumpy husband. Tom Brown & Bonita Granville are their two younger, spoiled children. Philip Reed plays a bullying society Lothario interested in Miss Bennett. Ann Dvorak is a senator's headstrong daughter who usually gets what she wants and what she wants now is Aherne.

Even the smaller character roles can be fun: watch for Sidney Bracey as a sour-faced temporary butler & Willie Best as a very frightened country store janitor.


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