7.4/10
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43 user 8 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 »

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(screen play), (screen play)
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Nominated for 5 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Minerva Harlan
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Kane Kilbourne
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Mrs. Harlan
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George
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2nd Butler
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Marjorie Kane ...
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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>

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Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

4 March 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Madame et son clochard  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Alan Mowbray, Billie Burke, and Constance Bennett had worked on director Norman Z. McLeod's previous film, Topper (1937). The commercial and critical success of Topper played a large role in their inclusion in this film. See more »

Quotes

Marian Kilbourne: I hope he stole the piano so I don't have to practice any more.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Version of What a Man (1930) See more »

Soundtracks

Tramp! Tramp! Tramp! (The Boys Are Marching)
(1864) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by George Frederick Root
Sung a cappella by Bonita Granville
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User Reviews

 
A Very Merry Movie
26 May 2004 | by See all my reviews

A highly intelligent ‘tramp' is hired to become chauffeur for an eccentric, wealthy family.

MERRILY WE LIVE is a prime example of a tremendously funny screwball comedy which has become undeservedly obscure with the passage of time. Bright & breezy, with snappy dialogue and some wonderful performances, it is a complete delight. The production values are excellent and the film's free spirit is perfectly encapsulated by the opening shot in which the principal cast marches arm-in-arm along the estate's long driveway while the credits and title song role.

Suave, sophisticated and just a wee bit naughty, British Brian Aherne is the perfect match for crisply cool blonde Constance Bennett. Their growing attraction to each other, hidden behind a rivalry for intellectual dominance, is great fun to watch. This ‘hobo' has much to teach the rich girl about life & love.

A very fine supporting cast offers much to the film's enjoyment. In one of her best roles, dithering Billie Burke, as Miss Bennett's utterly out-of-touch mother, is a complete joy. Alan Mowbray plays the proper English butler who experiences frequent bouts of emotional distress. Ensconced in the kitchen, tough-talking Patsy Kelly is the family's cook with a strong yen to stir-up some romance with handsome Aherne.

Impressively agile Clarence Kolb is Miss Burke's grumpy husband. Tom Brown & Bonita Granville are their two younger, spoiled children. Philip Reed plays a bullying society Lothario interested in Miss Bennett. Ann Dvorak is a senator's headstrong daughter who usually gets what she wants and what she wants now is Aherne.

Even the smaller character roles can be fun: watch for Sidney Bracey as a sour-faced temporary butler & Willie Best as a very frightened country store janitor.


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