7.4/10
1,388
49 user 14 critic

Merrily We Live (1938)

Passed | | Comedy, Romance | 4 March 1938 (USA)
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 »

Director:

Norman Z. McLeod

Writers:

Eddie Moran (screen play), Jack Jevne (screen play)
Reviews
Nominated for 5 Oscars. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Thrown out of the Riviera, a family of grifters meets a lonely, vulnerable rich old woman and insinuate themselves into her life while they sponge off her.

Directors: Richard Wallace, Lewis Milestone, and 2 more credits »
Stars: Janet Gaynor, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Roland Young
Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A con man who stages phony "lucky legs" beauty contests and leaves town with the money is found with a surgical knife in his heart by Mason.

Director: Archie Mayo
Stars: Warren William, Genevieve Tobin, Patricia Ellis
Topper (1937)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A fun-loving couple, finding that they died and are now ghosts, decide to shake up the stuffy lifestyle of a friend of theirs.

Director: Norman Z. McLeod
Stars: Cary Grant, Constance Bennett, Roland Young
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Sisters Ruth and Eileen Sherwood move from Ohio to New York in the hopes of building their careers. Ruth wants to get a job as a writer, while Eileen hopes to succeed on the stage. The two ... See full summary »

Director: Alexander Hall
Stars: Rosalind Russell, Brian Aherne, Janet Blair
Certificate: Passed Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

This is a story about family relationships, set in the time before and during the American Civil War. Ethan Wilkins is a poor and honest man who ministers to the human soul, while his son ... See full summary »

Director: Clarence Brown
Stars: Walter Huston, James Stewart, Beulah Bondi
The Citadel (1938)
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Andrew Manson (Robert Donat), a young, enthusiastic doctor takes his first job in a Welsh mining town, and begins to wonder at the persistent cough many of the miners have. When his ... See full summary »

Director: King Vidor
Stars: Robert Donat, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Richardson
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

An orphaned young boy is guided by his great-grandfather and strives to go to university to become a doctor. However, the boy's harsh grandfather stands in his way.

Director: Victor Saville
Stars: Charles Coburn, Tom Drake, Beverly Tyler
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Hard-hitting news editor Jim Branch falls for high-society type Sharon Norwood but can't get to first base as he continually makes use of her knowledge of the rich and famous to try to ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Z. Leonard
Stars: Constance Bennett, Clark Gable, Stuart Erwin
Comedy | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

To gain entry to Heaven, a ghost attempts to reunite a divorcing couple as a good deed.

Director: Norman Z. McLeod
Stars: Constance Bennett, Roland Young, Billie Burke
Craig's Wife (1936)
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A domineering woman marries a wealthy man for his money, and then uses her position to further her own ambitions for money and power.

Director: Dorothy Arzner
Stars: Rosalind Russell, John Boles, Billie Burke
Comedy | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A mystery writer and his newlywed wife move into a Greenwich Village apartment and find themselves with a corpse and a half dozen red herrings.

Director: Richard Wallace
Stars: Loretta Young, Brian Aherne, Jeff Donnell
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Two English aristocrats pursue a rich American widow who may not be quite the person she claims to be.

Directors: Richard Boleslawski, Dorothy Arzner, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Robert Montgomery, Joan Crawford, William Powell
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Constance Bennett ... Jerry Kilbourne
Brian Aherne ... Wade Rawlins
Alan Mowbray ... Grosvenor - Butler
Billie Burke ... Mrs. Kilbourne
Patsy Kelly ... Etta
Ann Dvorak ... Minerva Harlan
Tom Brown ... Kane Kilbourne
Clarence Kolb ... Mr. Kilbourne
Bonita Granville ... Marian Kilbourne
Marjorie Rambeau ... Mrs. Harlan
Phillip Reed ... Herbert Wheeler
Willie Best ... George
Sidney Bracey ... 2nd Butler
Paul Everton ... Senator Harlan
Marjorie Kane ... Rosa
Edit

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

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 March 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dark Chapter See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hal Roach Studios See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Clarence Kolb and Marjorie Rambeau would be reunited in the 1957 film Man of a Thousand Faces. the last feature film for each. See more »

Goofs

When Jerry and Marian are rushing down the stairs near the beginning of the film, a shadow of the boom microphone is visible on the wall to the left. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Emily Kilbourne: Where are you going, darling?
Jerry Kilbourne: Rawlins is going to drive me to the club.
Mrs. Emily Kilbourne: Oh, does he drive?
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

References My Man Godfrey (1936) 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 »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Very, very derivative BUT enjoyable!
9 September 2007 | by MartinHaferSee 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.


17 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 49 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed