My Man Godfrey (DVD, 2008)
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My Man Godfrey: Excellent Depression era Comedy
Jun 30, 2012 (Updated Jun 30, 2012)
Review by George Chabot
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:William Powell, Supporting Cast, Wit, Dialog
Cons:Not more as good as this
The Bottom Line: An early screwball comedy that set the mark for ones that followed. Must see if you like comedy
My Man Godfrey (1936)
Recommend this product?
An early screwball comedy that pokes fun at the idle rich with a blue ribbon cast headed up by William Powell who should be better known as he was as good as they got. He is probably best known as The Thin Man playing opposite Myrna Loy.
A veteran of the stage and silent era that successfully moved into the talkies, William Powell was usually cast as a dapper leading man with plenty of witty lines which he delivered with aplomb few others could muster.
The story concerned a tycoon who, jilted by a sweetheart, moved into the NY city dump on the East River and lived as a homeless man among a horde of others. He is adopted by a society matron (Carole Lombard) who is on a scavenger hunt seeking a “forgotten man.” This was the height of the Great Depression so the contrasting of rich and poor was a frequently used movie theme. She brings the man back to the party but he has such a winning personality that her family decides to adopt him as a mascot, making him there butler.
The family is comprised of a bunch of types well played and the comedy that arises is generally superior to what you can get today. If you’ve seen Cary Grant in Bringing Up Baby or Sullivan’s Travels, the comedy is at least as good if not better. William Powell is the straight character and all the family members have idiosyncrasies that he plays off of making every scene memorable.
The supporting players are Carole Lombard as the lady who finds Godfrey, Gail Patrick as the sister, Eugene Palette as the father, and Alice Brady as the mother, with a protégé of her own played by Mischa Auer.
Directed by Gregory La Cava, the story socks it to the idle rich and certainly if I were rich I would be dismayed to be portrayed as such a pack of idiots but that was the general storyline. If you know Mr Deeds goes to Town, or It Happened One Night, My Man Godfrey is right along those lines with excellent characterizations and jokes that are still relevant.
As time goes by Godfrey does his thing behind the scenes to establish a swank night club staffed by his former fellow bums on the old site of the city dump that has been cleaned up.
Originally a Universal movie, the recent DVD is from Legend Films with Black and White and colorized versions of the 93 minute comedy. The video is well preserved in either version and the colorization is well done so I watched that version most recently. If you like comedy, and who doesn't; you'll want to see this movie.
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