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My Man Godfrey

William Powell , Carole Lombard , Gregory La Cava    Unrated   DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 15.47 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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My Man Godfrey + Myrna Loy and William Powell Collection
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Product Description

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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 "protégé," 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

Special Features

After years as a poster child for archival neglect, this 1936 screwball gem is restored to its original luster in Criterion's exemplary digital transfer, which yields nearly pristine imaging and a clearer soundtrack. Even the opening credits, combining miniatures, animation, and art deco type design to create a panorama of New York's riverfront, is a revelation after decades of poor transfers. Better yet, this edition restores a brief but crucial scene (a pivotal visit by Carole Lombard's Irene to "butler" Godfrey's service quarters) absent from most public domain-sourced versions. Extras include a thoughtful audio commentary by historian Bob Gilpin, a few outtakes, production stills, an original trailer, and the radio adaptation (which also featured stars Powell and Lombard)--modest extras when compared to those found on some modern DVDs, but substantial for a movie lensed more than six decades ago. For classics fans, this is nirvana. --Sam Sutherland

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
The below-stairs people usually got ignored in old movies. But there's a very interesting twist in "My Man Godfrey," a fun screwball comedy about a rich little girl who adores her secretive homeless-turned-butler. The dialogue is snappy, the storyline is fun, but the relationship between the two leads is never quite convincing.

The list for a charity scavenger hunt includes "lost man." Scatterbrained Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard) is about to lose to her nasty sister, until "lost man" Godfrey (William Powell) volunteers to help her. As a reward, Irene makes Godfrey the new butler for her moneyed Park Avenue family, who turns out to be kind of crazy -- a long-suffering dad, cruel sister, and a mom who sees gnomes.

And it soon becomes clear that Irene has a massive crush on Godfrey, but not only does he reject her, but he keeps his past a secret. And her spiteful sister Cornelia (Gail Patrick) is planning to get back at Godfrey for humiliating her, by framing him for a theft...

Basically "My Man Godfrey" is just a cute little upper-crust storyline of the type that was popular in the 1930s, so people could ignore their Depression troubles for a few hours. And it succeeds at being a solid little comedy -- not quite screwball but occasionally verging on it.

For the first half, we're basically treated to the wacky antics of Irene's family (including a horse in the study), and Godfrey's mild disbelief at what a bunch of weirdos they are. And after that it gets more serious, with Cornelia's war on Godfrey, but the kooky comedy is kept up through witty dialogue and warped family encounters. ("Take a look at the dizzy old gal with the goat." "I've had to look at her for 20 years - that's MRS. Bullock!" "I'm terribly sorry!" "How do you think I feel?").
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "My Man Godfrey" Still Sparkles after 60 Years Dec 29 2003
By tpm1800
Format:DVD
Gregory La Cava's 1936 masterpiece "My Man Godfrey" my well be the best comedy of the '30s. This screwball classic features a witty topnotch script, fast paced direction, fabulous art deco sets and wonderful performances from Carole Lombard and William Powell, as well as, supporting players, Gail Patrick, Mischa Auer, Eugene Pallette, Alan Mowbray and, the particularly dizzy, Alice Brady. This film has never looked better than it has on this Criterion edition. The picture is crisp and clear and way better than any public domain print. In fact, during a recent showing of a PD print on TCM I got out my laptop and ran the Criterion DVD simultaneously and wow, what a difference. The clarity and amount of detail is terrific. I wish the extras had been better and the commentary could have been from the actual stars and creators rather than a film historian but these are petty complaints. If you have been thinking of adding this classic to your collection then pay the extra money and get the best version out there.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Its worth the extra dollars! Nov. 18 2003
By A Customer
Format:DVD
I admit I was a bit reluctant to spend the money for this version of the classic movie, being perfectly content (I thought) with the cheaper versions. But having once purchased it, I can assure you it is worth the extra dollars. The picture is crystal clear and the sound (always a problem on some of the other versions) is wonderfully restored. Powell and Lombard never looked or sounded better, even in 1936. The brief missing scene (mentioned in the other review) included here is a nice
addition, adding even more... tension between Godrey and Irene. Godrey is appalled that Irene would enter his private domain and Irene, as ever, is oblivious to all disapproval, having only eyes for Godrey. The radio play is an interesting extra, reuniting the two stars, plus Gail Russell is back as the conniving Cornelia. Also, a young David Niven is in the radio play, as Godfrey's friend Tommy Gray. The commentary is interesting, sometimes more for film students than fans, but still a good addition. Outtakes from any film made in the 1930's are rare, so these, although brief, are a bonus.
All in all, the digital transfer itself is worth the money, the rest of these extras are just gravy for the collector. I highly recommend this disc, for those who cherish the immortal screwball comedy films and the discerning fans of William Powell and Carole Lombard.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Criterion DVD an overpriced disappointment July 9 2003
Format:DVD
Unfortunately Criterion has (again) cornered the market on a classic film and no other DVD of reasonable quality exists. This DVD, overpriced as all Criterion entries are, is a disappointment. The restoration is not particularly good, with fuzzy resolution and distortion around the edges in many scenes. The sound quality, too, is well below par for a premium-priced DVD. Compare this disk with the superb DVDs of "Sunset Boulevard" (Paramount) and "All About Eve" (20th Century Fox). On both of these disks, the picture and sound restoration, as well as the bonus features, far surpass Criterion's "Godfrey" at a far, far lower price. Criterion is lazily riding the reputation they built years ago with laser disks when the competition was mainly VHS, and still charging laser disk prices for a product that is less than premium. They need to 1) improve quality and 2) reduce prices to realistic levels. If not, the best thing would be for them to overprice themselves out of business. They certainly are no longer the "criterion" against which all video should be evaluated.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost 80yrs and counting.......
It is uncommon for any movie to much outlive the period in which it was created ..... but this is certainly one of them.
Published 11 months ago by Harold McPeake
5.0 out of 5 stars The first "odd couple" emphasis on odd. :P
One of my favourite films of the classic B&W movie age. The chemistry between the two leads is self evident and it's hard to see any of the expected animosity that you would... Read more
Published 17 months ago by 1/2DHsquared
5.0 out of 5 stars My Man Godfrey (1936)
I really enjoyed this movie. Story line moves along nicely. Colorized feature not only adds to the visual enjoyment but also maintains the mood and settings of the venue. Read more
Published 18 months ago by John W.H.D Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Universal 100th Anniv. Ed. This Is The Version To Own!
I think fans of this film already know the familiar story line, so I won't get into that here. The great news is it's being presented as part of Universal's 100th Anniversary... Read more
Published on Sept. 19 2012 by Movieman, Montreal
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie just as compelling today as when made
The ancient writers of the past used to write their books would age when people were educated and became better..if education was really the problem. Here we have a play... Read more
Published on July 14 2012 by Anthony Marinelli
5.0 out of 5 stars My Man Godfrey
I'm such a fan of William Powell and he does not disappoint in this film at all. The quality is good and so is the price. Read more
Published on Feb. 21 2012 by Amazonfan
5.0 out of 5 stars My Man Godfrey
I had a VHS copy of this movie, it had faded away, so was very glad when I could buy a DVD copy.
Published on Aug. 1 2011 by Gayle Bray
3.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, horrible price
I love this movie. It's entertaining, fun and the characters are over the top. It would be a great movie to watch with the kids because it could keep them engaged, but it's even... Read more
Published on Aug. 13 2010 by ElyseAli
2.0 out of 5 stars great movie, poor transfer
The transfer to digital is terrible; they must have used a 0 to 1M/sec video stream (VDC or SVCD) and recorded it from a VHS master. Read more
Published on Nov. 29 2008 by Alan R. Mcquaig
5.0 out of 5 stars William Powell is at his best.
A dysfunctional but seemingly wealthy family takes in a new butler of dubious background. In return the butler saves the family in more ways than one. Read more
Published on Oct. 10 2008 by bernie
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