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My Man Godfrey

My Man Godfrey, (1936) starring William Powell and Carole Lombard

movie review of “My Man Godfrey” – one of the great screwball comedies of the 20th century, starring Carole Lombard as the spoiled rich girl and William Powell as Godfrey, the — €œforgotten man — € with a secret past … hilarious and touching, a must-see film!

Product description of My Man Godfrey (1936)

My Man Godfrey is one of the top Screwball Comedies of all time. The story of a wealthy New York family in the 1930’s that brings in Godfrey, a destitute and Forgotten Man as their butler. William Powell plays the leading role brilliantly, and gives the family a madcap ride they will never forget. My Man Godfrey was the first film to receive Oscar ® nominations in all four acting categories, including stunning performances by William Powell and Carole Lombard. Presented in color for the first time and beautifully restored, this is the definitive DVD edition of My Man Godfrey.

Editorial review of My Man Godfrey, (1936) starring William Powell and Carole Lombard, courtesy of Amazon.com

Director Gregory La Cava deftly balances satire, romance, and social comment in this 1936 classic, which echoes Frank Capra in its Depression-era subtext. The Bullocks are a well-heeled, harebrained Manhattan family genetically engineered for screwball collisions: father Alexander (Eugene Pallette, of the foghorn voice and thick-knit eyebrows) is the breadwinner at wit’s end, thanks to his spoiled daughters, the sultry Cornelia (Gail Patrick) and the sweet but scatterbrained Irene (a luminous Carole Lombard), his dizzy and doting wife, Angelica (Alice Brady), and her — €œprotégé, — € Italian freeloader Carlo (Mischa Auer). When Irene wins a society scavenger hunt (and atypically trumps her scheming sister) by producing a — €lost man, — € a seeming tramp named Godfrey (William Powell), all their lives are transformed. With the always suave, effortlessly funny Powell in the title role, this mystery man provides the film’s conscience and its model of decency; the giddy, passionate Lombard holds out its model for triumphant love. In a movie riddled with memorable comic highlights, the real miracle is the unapologetic romanticism that prevails. —Sam Sutherland

Trivia for My Man Godfrey (1936), starring William Powell and Carole Lombard

  • This was the first film to ever receive four acting nominations at the Academy Awards, and it did so in the year that the supporting categories were introduced.
  • A stand-in (Chick Collins) was used when William Powell carries Carole Lombard over his shoulder up the stairs to her bedroom.
  • When — €œMy Man Godfrey — € was adapted and broadcast as an episode of the Lux Radio Theater on May 9, 1938, David Niven portrayed Tommy Gray. Niven would later star in the remake, My Man Godfrey.
  • This is the only movie to ever get Oscar nominations for writing, directing and all four acting awards without being nominated for Best Picture. It’s also the only movie to ever get those six nominations and lose them all.
  • Premiere voted this movie as one of — €œThe 50 Greatest Comedies Of All Time — € in 2006.
  • Although stars William Powell and Carole Lombard had been divorced for three years by the time they made this, when offered the part Powell declared that the only actress right for the part of Irene was Lombard.
  • Mischa Auer’s character Carlo repeatedly sings — €œOchi Chornya — € in this movie. Nine years later in And Then There Were None his character Prince Nikita Starloff begins playing the first few notes of — €œOchi Chornya — € on the piano before meeting his demise.
  • When William Powell and director Gregory La Cava had a disagreement over how Godfrey should be played, they talked it out over a bottle of Scotch in Powell’s dressing room. The next day, LaCava returned to the movie set with a major headache, but Powell was not there. The director received a telegram from his star: — €œWE MAY HAVE FOUND GODFREY LAST NIGHT BUT WE LOST POWELL. SEE YOU TOMORROW. — €
  • — €œAcademy Award Theater — € broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on October 2, 1946 with William Powell reprising his film role.
  • Based on the book — €˜1101 Park Avenue’ by Eric Hatch.
  • Jane Wyman has an uncredited role.
  • In 2002 the film was remastered and restored and effectively colorized for the first time.
  • Was selected for preservation by the national film registry in 1999, being referred to as culturally significant by the United States Library of Congress.
  • Set around and filmed during the Great Depression.
  • — €˜Carole Lombard’ had a habit of inserting swear words into the dialogue and had re-film several scenes due to this.
  • The Character of Irene Bullock is in her late teens; — €˜Carole Lombard’ in actuality was 28.
  • William Powell suggested his ex-wife Carole Lombard for the leading role with the explanation that his real life romance with Lombard had been much the same as it was for the characters of Godfrey and Irene.