HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
1 chance sur 2
Betterman
Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo
Yin Yang Master, The
Hail, Mafia!
Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase
Mirai
Strange House, The
Morfalous, Les
Dreambuilders
Everything Went Fine
Lux AEterna
Rum Runners
Fairy and the Devil, The
Mad God
Outside the Law
I Remember Mama
Superman Unbound
Lawrence of Belgravia
House Across the Lake, The
Wonder Park
Hornsby e Rodriguez
Operation Mincemeat
5 Kung Fu Daredevil Heroes
Scoob!
Earwig
Offseason
Peau Douce, La
Double Indemnity
Na Cha and the Seven Devils
Deep Murder
Superman vs. the Elite
Adam Project, The
Osamu Tezuka's Last Mystery of the 20th Century
Horse, La
Buffaloed
Train Robbers, The
Let Sleeping Cops Lie
Abominable
Funeral, The
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  My Man Godfrey I Love You, Butler
Year: 1936
Director: Gregory La Cava
Stars: William Powell, Carole Lombard, Alice Brady, Gail Patrick, Eugene Pallette, Alan Mowbray, Jean Dixon, Mischa Auer, Robert Light, Pat Flaherty, Franklin Pangborn, Grady Sutton, Edward Gargan
Genre: ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: At the city dump a group of socialites roar up in their car looking for a "forgotten man". They settle on Godfrey (William Powell) and one of them, a young woman named Irene (Carole Lombard) tells him they want a down and out to accompany them on their scavenger hunt. Godfrey is insulted when he hears the suggestion, and when Irene's sister Cornelia (Gail Patrick) offers him five dollars for the privilege of being a human prizewinner he pushes her into a pile of ashes. However, on talking to the friendlier Irene his curiosity is piqued and he agrees to go along with her to the hotel where the hunt is based from so that she can beat her mean-spirited sister at something for the first time in her life, little realising how his life will soon turn around because of this chance meeting...

When My Man Godfrey was released the Great Depression was at its height and a film that depicted the wealthy as irresponsible idiots must have appealed to the audiences of lower classes who were not so fortunate as to have money to throw around. But in fact the story is something of a cheat, for the homeless Godfrey is not what he first appears to be; this doesn't stop Irene from falling in love with him, which at first we think points to a sophisticated romantic comedy, but this affection for Godfrey, who she installs as the new butler, is soon shown to be the whim of a spoiled rich girl who has been engaged many times before.

Although the film is often categorised as a screwball comedy from the classic era of such things, it doesn't really pick up enough steam for the zaniness to be given full reign, perhaps because the social aspect to the story has to be given room to breathe. The script was by Morrie Ryskind and Eric Hatch from Hatch's novel, and at times looks as though it could get away with being a stage play as most of the action is confined to the mansion house Irene lives in with her sister, long-suffering father Mr Bullock (the great Eugene Pallette) and dotty mother (Alice Brady). Also living there is gorilla-impersonating concert pianist Carlo (Mischa Auer) who is Irene's mother's supposed protege.

Not to mention Molly the maid (Jean Dixon) who gives Godfrey fair warning when he turns up for work in a rented suit. After pushing Cornelia over, he would appear to have made an ememy for life, and she promises to make his life a misery while he stays there. That may not be for long as Molly informs him that the mansion offers a revolving doors policy for staff, and he may resign or be sacked sooner than he thinks. The point of all this is that the poor but noble Godfrey is more sensible than the foolish rich, a point which flies out of the window when he is recognised at one of the Bullocks' parties and we realise that he is not all he seems, and in fact has had a breakdown which has made him leave his previously comfortable life behind to wander the streets.

The saving graces of all this are the bright performances, with (real life ex husband and wife) Powell impeccably suave and Lombard peerlessly daffy; the contrast in styles and the ease with which they are in each other's company (they had been married at one point) boosts both his dignity and her willingness to look ridiculous, in fact her character has barely a shred of dignity at all. No one in the supporting cast hits a wrong note either, as director Gregory La Cava, in his career's purple patch before his alcoholism proved his downfall, demonstrated his gift for relaxing his cast when they knew they could do what they wished in service of the film and still look wholly professional - more than that, you liked them. That happy ending is frustrating, mind you, with Godfrey practically forced into a marriage that surely couldn't have lasted given the capricious world this exists in, where you can be on top of the tree one day and down in the dumps (literally) the next. Remade to lesser effect in 1957 with June Allyson and David Niven.

[This has been released on Blu-ray by Criterion, a far better bet than the public domain copies floating around. Those extras in full:

New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
New piece about the film with jazz and film critic Gary Giddins
New discussion about director Gregory La Cava with critic Nick Pinkerton
Outtakes (basically the cast swearing their heads off)
Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of the film from 1938, starring actors William Powell, Carole Lombard, Gail Patrick and Mischa Auer
Newsreels from the thirties documenting the class divide during the Great Depression
Trailer
PLUS: An essay by critic Farran Smith Nehme]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 6036 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Enoch Sneed
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: