My Man Godfrey

What a rip roaring comedy this movie “My Man Godfrey” (1936) directed by Gregory La Cava and starring William Powell, Carole Lombard, Alice Brady, Gail Patrick among others. Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard in an adorable role for which she was nominated to the Oscars) and Cornelia Bullock (Gail Patrick) are sisters and they are playing a rich man’s game scavenger’s hunt, where they have to find somebody or something which nobody has seen before, like the forgotten man. Both of them stumble upon Godfrey (William Powell) living in a city dump with others. Godfrey pushes Cornelia into an ash pile but Irene cottons onto him as per prize.

Irene brings Godfrey to the stage with a promise of $5 but he is insulted there by the managers. Irene feels bad about it and offers Godfrey a job as her butler. Godfrey enters into a madcap house where everybody seems to be strange – their mother Angelica Bullock (Alice Brady) is one character straight out of the comic book, whereas their father Alexander Bullock (Eugene Pallette) is alarmed at his daughters’ propensity to spend enormous amounts of money, while he is going bankrupt.

Irene falls in love with Godfrey but he is the reticent proper butler, quite decent and not interested in her. The Bullocks throw a tea party, where Tommy Gray (Alan Mowbray) recognizes Godfrey as his friend from Harvard. Godfrey fends him off at the party, but meets him next day at lunch to reveal his true story.

Its an uproariously comic movie with some lovely dialogues, adorable characters in Carole Lombard, her mother Alice Brady and William Powell himself the archetypal English butler. Even Gail Patrick and Eugene Pallette and Alan Mowbray have played their parts delectably. Made way back in 1936 but still produces some really good laughs. It got nominated for a whole host of awards at the Oscars. Production values are outstanding for a movie made in that era.

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