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Merrily We Live (1938)

Passed  |   |  Comedy, Romance  |  4 March 1938 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 953 users  
Reviews: 42 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 »



(screen play), (screen play), 3 more credits »
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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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An executive lets an attractive cook talk him into taking a job as butler.

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Complete credited cast:
Grosvenor - Butler
Minerva Harlan
Clarence Kolb ...
Marjorie Rambeau ...
Mrs. Harlan
Phillip Reed ...
Herbert Wheeler
Willie Best ...
Sidney Bracey ...
2nd Butler
Paul Everton ...
Senator Harlan
Marjorie Kane ...


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

tramp | servant | love | hobo | chauffeur | See All (56) »


Comedy | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

4 March 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Madame et son clochard  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 »


Mrs. Emily Kilbourne: Every night when I go to bed, I search myself.
Marian Kilbourne: Did you ever find anything?
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


Version of What a Man (1930) See more »


Merrily We Live
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

Delightfully zany screwball comedy- one of the last and one of the best.

By 1938 the screwball comedy genre was dying out. That year two of the genre's best (BRINGING UP BABY and MERRILY WE LIVE) found no audience. The former is recognized as a classic but the latter has almost disappeared. After a thirty year search I finally found a copy on video and am delighted with the results.

Brian Aherne should have netted an Oscar nom for his breezy and inventive comedy performance - a gem. Billie Burke netted a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nom for her batty portrayal of the family matron. Constance Bennett is a delight as the zany daughter and Clarence Kolb is incredibly acrobatic for his age as the put upon husband and father of the group.

The film netted five Oscar noms in total: Supporting Actress, Sound, Song, Art Direction and Cinematography. Those it deserved were: Actor, Director, Art Direction and Screenplay, for my money.

This is a delight from start to finish and well worth seeking out.

38 of 42 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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