My Man Godfrey is a classic Romantic Comedy, set in New York City during the depression. William Powell plays Godfrey, a down and out forgotten man, who becomes the butler for a crazy wealthy family - The Bullocks. Irene Bullock, played by Carole Lombard, is the flighty daughter who falls in love with the mysterious new valet, Godfrey.
My Man Godfrey
Directed by - Gregory La Cava
(1936) - B&W - 94 min
William Powell was married to Carole Lombard from 1931-1933, so the romantic tension between the two main characters is drawn from real life. Powell, a super suave gentleman, best known for his roles as cool super sleuth Philo Vance in the Kennel Murder Case and Nick Charles in The Thin Man with Myrna Loy. Rumor has it that Universal wanted Loy to play Irene, but Powell insisted that Lombard would be best for the part. You should also check out a great cartoon at LikeTelevision - Tex Avery's Hollywood Steps Out, which has a remarkable caricature of Powell and Loy, and many more, including Clark Gable, who would become Lombard's husband in a few years hence. Carole Lombard's nickname was the Profane Angel. My Man Godfrey was released September 18, 1936.
Intro, B&W, title screens, credits, etc. The movie opens with a scene where rich socailite, Cornelia Bullock is down by the river where the bums live, looking for a forgotten man - who is on the list in a scavenger hunt. She offers Godfrey $5 to be her forgotten man, and he pushes her in an ash heap. Shortly thereafter, the nice sister, Irene Bullock, who is also looking for a forgotten man, talks with Godfrey and he agrees to help her out, as he wants to see this crazy charity event at the Waldorf Astoria. A great scene at the party follows and Irene asks Godfrey to be the family's butler, and her protege. Check out Irene's mom's protege, Carlo - a lame, sensitive pianist. Very funny situation, great acting, and great screenplay. This film was nominated for 6 Academy Awards - William Powell, best actor, Carole Lombard, best actress, Alice Brady, best supporting actress, Mischa Auer, best supporting actor as Carlo, the protege, Gregory La Cava as best director, and best writing, screenplay, Eric Hatch and Morrie Ryskind.
Finally - Irene and Godfrey share a kiss
Alice Brady (no relation to the maid on the Brady Bunch) plays the flighty Angelica Bullock. She has some of the best lines!
Godfrey is working hard to become a great butler and regaining his self-esteem, after being jilted by a rich lady, who took all his worldly possessions. Meanwhile, Irene is falling in love with Godfrey, but he wants no part of it, as he is trying to keep his job as a butler, and is thankful for having a job.
Gail Patrick as Cornelia Bullock, the snippy, arrogant sister of Irene
At one of the Bullock's parties, a rich guy from Boston recognizes his old buddy from Harvard, Godfrey Parke, who it turns out isn't a bum at all, but is from one of Boston's finest families. Cornelia overhears a conversion, and tries to out Godfrey, just to spite her sister. Then she tries to get him busted by the police, by planting some pearls under Godfrey's mattress.
My Man Godfrey
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William Powell in his role as Godfrey, the perfect butler, and Irene's protege, serves some crumpets to Cornelia
Well it seems Godfrey is trying to help out his old buddies, the forgotten men down by the river, and is working with Tommy to get them jobs. Meanwhile, Cornelia and Irene head off to Europe so Irene can get over her broken engagement to Van Rumple. And Carlo is starting to drive Alexander Bullock crazy, as he is losing all his money in the stock market, which is cratering every day as the situation goes from bad to worse.
Eugene Pallette as Alexander Bullock, the gruff patriarch of the Bullock family
How will it all end? Will Alexander go broke from his market losses, will Angelica lose her protege Carlo? Will Cornelia ever do something nice? and Will Irene and Godfrey ever get together, and fall in love? And what are Tommy and Godfrey up to down by the river? Watch the conclusion - as it all comes together in the end.
William Powell as Godfrey, one of the few butlers with a Harvard education
Wiliam Powell as a down and out bum named Duke - who lives in a box down by the river. Chris Farley has the van next door.
William Powell as a forgotten man in the scavenger hunt, gives a scathing speech to the upper crust socialites
William Powell caricature in Tex Avery's awesome cartoon, Hollywood Steps Out. Check it out on the cartoon channel!