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My Man Godfrey


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Product Details

  • Actors: William Powell, Carole Lombard, Alice Brady, Gail Patrick, Eugene Pallette
  • Directors: Gregory La Cava
  • Writers: Gregory La Cava, Eric Hatch, Morrie Ryskind, Robert Presnell Sr., Zoe Akins
  • Producers: Charles R. Rogers
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Fox Video (Canada) Limited
  • Release Date: April 19 2005
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007IO73G
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #101,772 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Amazon.ca

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

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on Jan. 10 2009
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 By tpm1800 on Dec 29 2003
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 By A Customer on Nov. 18 2003
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 By Scaramouche on 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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