My Man Godfrey [Import]
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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
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 --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
one tip when opening, first remove the barcode sticker before trying to slide the DVD case out of the cardboard sleeve.
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?").Read more ›
This 5 out of 5 star screwball classic has only been available previously on budget labels (of varying quality), or as a very expensive Criterion release. It's terrific to see Universal releasing this as well as another classic Public Domain title, Charade. The print quality & extras are great, well done. Happy 100th!
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.
Most recent customer reviews
Wonderful, wonderful! I am so pleased to have this DVD. Excellent delivery - well before due. Excellent condition. Read morePublished 3 months ago by M. Dove
It's called a classic. It's old, mono sound, black and white and 4x3 ratio. SO WHAT!!
Don't let these things prevent you from seeing one of the masterpieces of the motion... Read more
Good vendor would use again - no trouble at all & very, VERY fair pricing good shipping etcPublished 12 months ago by Brian
My Man Godfrey(released Sept/36)stars,among others,William Powell,Carole Lombard,Alice Brady,Gail Patrick and
Eugene Pallette. Read more
My Man Godfrey is A Excellent Comedy Drama. William Powell Plays A Bum Who's down And Out. And Carole Lombard Plays A rich woman who sympathizes with him. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Movie Buff K. D.
It is uncommon for any movie to much outlive the period in which it was created ..... but this is certainly one of them.Published on Nov. 29 2013 by Harold McPeake
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 morePublished on June 5 2013 by 1/2DHsquared
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 morePublished on April 22 2013 by John W.H.D Jones