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My Man Godfrey (1936)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 6 September 1936 (USA)
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A scatterbrained socialite hires a vagrant as a family butler...but there's more to Godfrey than meets the eye.

Director:

Gregory La Cava

Writers:

Morrie Ryskind (screen play), Eric Hatch (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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The eccentric Bullock household again need a new butler. Daughter Irene encounters bedraggled Godfrey Godfrey at the docks and, fancying him and noticing his obviously good manners, gets ... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
William Powell ... Godfrey
Carole Lombard ... Irene Bullock
Alice Brady ... Angelica Bullock
Gail Patrick ... Cornelia Bullock
Eugene Pallette ... Alexander Bullock
Jean Dixon ... Molly
Alan Mowbray ... Tommy Gray
Mischa Auer ... Carlo
Pat Flaherty ... Mike Flaherty
Robert Light ... Faithful George
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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 »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Russian

Release Date:

6 September 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Al servicio de las damas See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$656,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Noiseless Recording Electric)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although stars William Powell and Carole Lombard had been divorced for three years by the time they made this, when offered the part Powell declared that the only actress right for the part of Irene was Lombard. See more »

Goofs

Godfrey is placing roses in a vase while ignoring Irene. In one shot, he has already placed five stems in the vase. The camera cuts away to the rest of the cast but when Godfrey is seen again, there is only one rose in the vase. See more »

Quotes

Godfrey: Do you mind telling me just what a scavenger hunt is?
Irene: Well, a scavenger hunt is exactly like a treasure hunt, except in a treasure hunt you try to find something you want, and in a scavenger hunt you try to find something that nobody wants.
Godfrey: Hmm, like a forgotten man?
Irene: That's right, and the one who wins gets a prize, only there really isn't a prize. It's just the honor of winning, because all the money goes to charity, that is, if there is any money left over, but there never is.
Godfrey: Well, that ...
See more »

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 »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer-colorized version. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Universal Story (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Drink a Highball
(1901) (uncredited)
Words and Music by G.B. Brigham
Sung a bit a cappella by William Powell
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
We've really lost something nowadays
4 July 2001 | by zetesSee 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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