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|Index||15 reviews in total|
The original is brilliant. But the re-make is sad at best. No matter how
much I may love David Niven, he's a poor substitute for Powell. Don't
bother with this trash. Rent the Powell/Lombard film (1936). It's one of
the funniest films you'll ever see, with hallmark performances by everyone
in the cast.
I saw this film when I was a kid; it was great, I loved it, and I had no idea it was a remake. Later, thanks to Turner Classic Movies, I got to see the B&W original with William Powell and his former wife, Carole Lombard, which deserves its legend status, but I still say that the Niven/Allyson film is an inspired remake and loads of fun. I urge everyone to see BOTH films and and appreciate the work of four talented actors.
The original My Man Godfrey was one of the best of the Thirties
screwball comedies. It was funny, but it also touched on some serious
social problems caused by the Depression which Carole Lombard and her
wacky family thought they were immune from.
In updating the story to the Fifties, the Depression was no longer the problem it was just David Niven's lack of a green card. In the remake it was just something that I as a member of the audience just didn't care about.
Until I read the IMDb page on this film, I didn't know that German actor O.W. Fischer was to be the new Godfrey. When he bowed out, David Niven came in to take his place. The script explained his British accent by saying that despite his Austrian birth and nationality, Godfrey was an Oxford man. I just didn't buy it, I don't think too many in the audience did.
Once again a film rose and fell on the considerable charms of David Niven. My Man Godfrey doesn't have too many peaks and valleys just seems to be one long plain.
Still it does have some amusing moments with whole stretches of dialog lifted from William Powell-Carole Lombard film. And personally I might have gone for Martha Hyer as the older sister Cordelia faster than June Allyson, but whatever floats your boat.
Nice film, but can't compare to what Gregory La Cava gave us back in the day.
The 1936 version was a masterpiece or close to it and this is a pale imitator. I like David Niven and June Allyson but they suck compared to William Powell and Carole Lombard. This one stars Niven as a man hiding out because he doesn't have a passport unlike the original when Powell was just homeless. Allyson is on a scavenger hunt and takes Niven along with her and then hires him as a butler. She's in love with Niven and it turns out he had a lot of money but lost it but i don't remember and it doesn't really matter. The original was much better and you should just watch that one instead and Powell and Lombard were much better. Why did they even bother to remake this.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Of course, the original My Man Godfrey from 1936, starring William
Powell and Carole Lombard, is an absolute masterpiece, and never
should've been remade. But I do like June Allyson and David Niven, so I
had to see this 1957 version.
It completely lacks both the laugh-out-loud hilarity of the original, as well as the more serious social commentary resulting from being set during the Great Depression and dealing with "The Forgotten Man". Godfrey's backstory has been altered to one of hiding in fear of deportation, having arrived in America illegally, for rather contrived and convoluted reasons. I don't really understand why someone of his wealth and position couldn't just go through the proper channels. As far as I can tell, the character's not making some sort of statement, there's no real point to the story, and the whole thing seems devoid of drama.
What's left, but to focus on the love story here, although that doesn't necessarily make it more convincing than the Powell/Lombard version. Still, the lack of a larger message does leave the remake more time to devote to the relationship between Godfrey and Irene, and some viewers might prefer that. (His somewhat paternalistic fondness of this prattling child - who is somehow also maternal and domestic! - feels very 1950s to me.) Whereas 1936 Godfrey was sort of swept away by whirling dervish Irene, against his will, 1957 Godfrey seems to be making a more conscious choice to be with her. He also seems more amused by her family, less stunned by their behavior... but then, they come across as only mildly eccentric in this version, despite a fair amount of re-used dialogue. Must be because the pacing is more sedate, and most of the actors are calm and subdued.
It's interesting that the first film is stronger in both the comedy and the drama... Perhaps you can't experience such highs, without addressing the lows? Basically, the remake is more bland, and more of a conventional romance. Lacking in substance, but it's pleasant and enjoyable enough, if you can forget the madcap brilliance of the original. David Niven and June Allyson are charming, as always. They deserved better than the thankless assignment of appearing in a destined-to-be-forgotten, watered-down remake of a classic film they must've known could never be surpassed.
I've never understood the urge to remake *great* movies. They usually fail
(e.g., We're No Angels) but very occasionally they succeed (e.g., His Girl
Friday). This one is frothy enough to float away into forgotten-movie
The original with William Powell and Carole Lombard was on the dark side, to be sure, but this was necessary to the 'message' and the times. Nor was the message entirely political and social--at heart it is about a man who discovers that his world of privilege is empty without accepting his responsibility to others and to his community. A sharp contrast in tone, but ultimately a complement to this theme, is in Nobody's Fool. The Paul Newman character is not privileged, but his commitment to others is just as deep and at the heart of the movie.
The Niven/Allyson remake of My Man Godfrey is, in my opinion, inoffensive and fun, but also shallow and meaningless.
The David Niven and June Allyson version of My Man Godfrey was a witty
and often funny remake of the 1936 version of the movie by the same
name--starring William Powell.
Unlike most remakes, I found the 1957 version equally as entertaining as the first version--which was quite funny.
The premise of "rich man pretending to be poor man" (and obviously mistaken for a poor man) was not unique with the original My Man Godfrey. An earlier movie (1930) had a similar plot line and was also remade in 1938 as, Merrily We Live, starring Constance Bennett, Brian Aherne, and Billie Burke. (Burke won an Oscar for her supporting role as the extremely ditsy mother).
Another bit of trivia: Alan Mowbray played a school chum of William Powell in the 1936 version of My Man Godfrey (Godfrey was the one mistaken for a butler). Mowbray played a butler who was upstaged by Brian Aherne in the 1938 movie, Merrily We Live. (In this movie, it was Aherne, as E. Wade Rawlins, who was mistaken for a tramp and hired first as a chauffeur, then became a temporary butler).
Anyone who first saw the 1957 version of My Man Godrey will also enjoy the 1936 version. Both were well done, even hilarious at times.
And I recommend Merrily We Live for those who enjoyed My Man Godfrey. The similarities (especially between the 1936 Godfrey and the 1938 Merrily We Live) are unmistakable.
Would absolutely love to have all three movies on DVD.
In this remake of the original screwball classic, David Niven is "My Man Godfrey," taking William Powell's role. While the extravagantly rich are having a scavenger hunt for animal, mineral and vegetable, sisters June Allyson and Martha Hyer come upon a bum nears the docks. Actually, June does first and in doing so, wins the contest. Long story. But she and her sister argue terribly, both being spoiled by their obscenely rich and doting parents, their mother rather ditsy and their father the most sane one of the bunch, but who recently has begun to have financial worries from bad investments. Is their money being spent faster than it is coming in? Could it be possible? Then, when June takes a liking to Godfrey and their latest manservant quits, she hires him and therefore he is initiated into the family and their antics. Jeff Donnell, an actress who has a man's name, is the cook who also falls under the spell of Godfrey and helps him to get accustomed to the family. This is yet another of Hollywood's remakes of previous films. After all, if it worked once, it may again with a cast of the 1950s. While this is not a laugh-out-loud classic, this film has charm in spades, with David Niven shining in a very modest role, which suits his gentleman disposition. This film also has more heart and deeply felt scenes than its predecessor, as June and David have more feelings for each as the film progresses, culminating in a very fulfilling ending. June is just as zany and fun here, as she is in her usual comedies, and Martha Hyer is a very beautiful actress who gives good support, as does Jesse Royce Landis as their mother. If you see this on TCM, please watch this very warm and charming outing with David Niven as "My Man Godfrey" teaching a lesson to an eccentric family and learning about himself in the process.
This is an inspired remake and a worthy film on its own merits. David Niven and June Allyson have chemistry galore, and are on top of their comedic games. It should be shown more often, but it is popular right now for purist snobs to turn up their noses at remakes. Well, the original is a masterpiece, and I love it too, but that does not take away from the diamond-like brilliance and sheer FUN of this version.
This is a re-make of the 1936 classic starring William Powell and Carole Lombard. Those 2 powerhouses practically guarantee a great film. The original has received much critical acclaim. However, the film was "dark" and had a "message" (a political one). I much prefer this lighter romp with David Niven and June Allyson. Niven's at his charming-est and Allyson at her perkiest. They have great chemistry. The flirty interaction of Allyson and Niven, playing the wise Godfrey, make this version very enjoyable. The original may be great art but the re-make is great fun and entertainment.......
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