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Merrily We Live (1938)

Passed  -  Comedy | Romance  -  4 March 1938 (USA)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 847 users  
Reviews: 40 user | 5 critic

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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Title: Merrily We Live (1938)

Merrily We Live (1938) on IMDb 7.4/10

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Nominated for 5 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Grosvenor - Butler
...
...
Etta
...
Minerva Harlan
Tom Brown ...
Clarence Kolb ...
...
Marjorie Rambeau ...
Mrs. Harlan
Phillip Reed ...
Herbert Wheeler
Willie Best ...
George
Sidney Bracey ...
2nd Butler
Paul Everton ...
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 | love | hobo | chauffeur | See more »

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

Jerry Kilbourne: Maybe he didn't have a father.
Mrs. Emily Kilbourne: Oh darling, everyone has a father, that's one of nature's unwritten laws.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Version of What a Man (1930) See more »

Soundtracks

Merrily We Live
(1938)
Music by Phil Charig
Lyrics by Arthur Quenzer
Sung by an offscreen chorus during the opening and closing credits
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Very, very derivative BUT enjoyable!
9 September 2007 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This is hardly an original film, as it was apparently a variation on the 1930 film WHAT A MAN. Plus, it's amazingly similar to the 1936 hit film, MY MAN GODFREY. However, despite being so unoriginal, the overall film is amazingly watchable and a lot of fun.

Like in GODFREY, the rich family that is the focus of the film is amazingly ditsy and....well, nuts! Unlike GODFREY, most of the insanity is concentrated into the mother (played by Billie Burke)--though as the film progresses, you come to realize they're all touched! As for Burke, her stupid schtick wears thin at the beginning of the film (making you wonder why the other family members haven't killed her). But, fortunately, as the film continues, she is given such wonderful lines of dialog that I really am glad they didn't kill her. Additionally, the rest of the family's dialog was great as well--showing that the writers were really hitting their mark.

The film is about Burke's bizarre habit of bringing home hobos to rehabilitate them, though in many ways they were treated more like pets or toys than people. The rest of the family is sick of this because the hobos are usually thieves or opportunists, so it's no wonder that when Brian Aherne is taken in by Burke that the rest of the family is angry and wants Aherne to go. However, what's really strange is that although Aherne is dressed like a bum, he never WANTS to be saved by Burke and he more or less becomes a part of the family against his will! As the film progresses, like Godfrey, Aherne is obviously more than just a man down on his luck--leading to a dandy conclusion.

The film has excellent and well-paced direction, wonderful writing and an excellent ensemble cast. It is actually quite surprising that this film isn't more well-known, as it's one of the better comedies of the 1930s.


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