A newspaper man, his ignored fiancée, and his former employee, a down on his luck reporter, hatch an elaborate scheme to turn a false news story into the truth in order to prevent a high-society woman from suing for libel.
A simple, small town man inherits a massive fortune, making him the target for scammers and publicity-seekers. Overwhelmed by the turn his life has taken, and awoken to another use for his new-found fortune, he makes a momentous decision.
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 »
Jessie Royce Landis
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 <email@example.com>
In production during the most volatile period in Universal's long history. The studio was reeling from the recent costly flop, Sutter's Gold (1936) and was banking heavily on the success of Show Boat (1936), which would experience production delays and cost Carl Laemmle his studio. Despite the relatively economical cost of Godfrey (under $700,000) it was released too late to benefit Laemmle and the new owners were able to capitalize on both it and Show Boat's revenues to finance a much cheaper and scaled back 1937 production roster. The "new" Universal wouldn't produce another true A-list film until 1939 (with Son of Frankenstein (1939) and Destry Rides Again (1939)) and would only survive by the singular popularity of its one major star, Deanna Durbin until the arrival of Abbott and Costello in 1941. See more »
At the Tea Party While Irene is talking to Charlie Van Rumple, in the background you see Godfrey serving Cornelia with a tray and she takes an item in each hand. A few seconds later the scene shifts to Cornelia, and Godfrey again serves her and she takes the two items again. See more »
These flowers just came for you, miss. Where shall I put them?
What difference does it make where one puts flowers when one's heart is breaking?
Yes, miss. Shall I put them on the piano?
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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 »
Also available in a computer-colorized version. See more »
My Man Godfrey is a classic ensemble film with Carole Lombard and William Powell at the helm. The comedic timing is nearly perfect and the script is a winner. Character actors Eugene Palette and Mischa Auer absolutely shine. Lombard defined screwball with her on and off screen antics. Her portrayal of the rich and flighty (yet ultimately wise) Irene Bullock is one of her best performances. Powell's Godfrey matches her step for step, and Powell does one better by showing us depth in his character rather than play straight man to her every madcap move.
The movie is fast-paced and defines the word zany. What is worth noting though is that in many ways it is a commentary of the times by comparing the 'haves' and 'have nots'. I would encourage everyone to watch with more than a comedic eye. Through Godfrey, director Gregory La Cava's film speaks volumes about the conditions of the 1930s. The U.S. was plunged in a depression that forced thousands to the breadlines. The film opens with a treasure hunt and one of the items to find is a forgotten man. The rich set out to the city dump to locate him with no regard for his plight or his dignity. The man they bring back as the prize is Godfrey, who soon is employed by the Bullock family as their butler. Powell and Gail Patrick as Irene's snooty sister, Cornelia, are the antithesis of each other and some of the best social barbs are exchanged between them. Keeping their esteemed place in society is paramount to the Bullock family, and only the father (Pallette) ever seems to worry about money. However, La Cava does not allow the film to wallow in pity for those less fortunate. The film amuses throughout but it is a real art to weave social commentary into a comedy without banging you over the head. La Cava pulls it off beautifully.
La Cava, Lombard, Powell, Auer, and Alice Brady all deservedly earned Academy Award nominations. This movie will make you laugh and it should. It is very, very funny. It should also make you think. I suspect if you do both, Mr. La Cava and his wonderful cast will have done their jobs.
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