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My Man Godfrey (1936)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 6 September 1936 (USA)
A scatterbrained socialite hires a vagrant as a family butler...but there's more to Godfrey than meets the eye.

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(screen play), (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Tommy Gray
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Storyline

In the depths of the Depression, a party game brings dizzy socialite Irene Bullock to the city dump where she meets Godfrey, a derelict, and ends by hiring him as family butler. He finds the Bullocks to be the epitome of idle rich, and nutty as the proverbial fruitcake. Soon, the dramatizing Irene is in love with her 'protege'...who feels strongly that a romance between servant and employer is out of place, regardless of that servant's mysterious past... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Language:

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Release Date:

6 September 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Al servicio de las damas  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$656,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (2005 DVD release)

Sound Mix:

(Western Noiseless Recording Electric)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In production during the most volatile period in Universal's long history. The studio was reeling from the recent costly flop, Sutter's Gold (1936) and was banking heavily on the success of Show Boat (1936), which would experience production delays and cost Carl Laemmle his studio. Despite the relatively economical cost of Godfrey (under $700,000) it was released too late to benefit Laemmle and the new owners were able to capitalize on both it and Show Boat's revenues to finance a much cheaper and scaled back 1937 production roster. The "new" Universal wouldn't produce another true A-list film until 1939 (with Son of Frankenstein (1939) and Destry Rides Again (1939)) and would only survive by the singular popularity of its one major star, Deanna Durbin until the arrival of Abbott and Costello in 1941. See more »

Goofs

The background footage of the 59th Street Bridge used in Godfrey's office is from the opposite side of the river to the footage used for the outdoor scenes at "The Dump". See more »

Quotes

Godfrey: But you want me to remain, don't you?
Irene: Oh, of course!
Godfrey: And I want to justify your faith in me by being a very good butler, and filling the void created by your late, lamented Pomeranian.
Irene: Oh, I've forgotten all about him. He had fleas, anyway. Besides, you're different. You use big words, and you're much cuter.
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Crazy Credits

The opening credits features a darkened city skyline and the names of the cast and crew appear as the camera pans across lighted billboards and neon signs. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Out-takes and Rare Footage (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

Drink a Highball
(1901) (uncredited)
Words and Music by G.B. Brigham
Sung a bit a cappella by William Powell
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Delightfully Naive and Funny
25 December 2010 | by See all my reviews

In New York post-Great Depression, the spoiled socialites Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard) and her sister Cornelia Bullock (Gail Patrick) are disputing a scavenger hunt where the winner is the one who brings a "forgotten man" first. They go to the city dump and Cornelia offers five dollars to the derelict Godfrey Smith (William Powell) to go with her and her companion to the Wardolf Hotel. The man pushes her in the garbage and Cornelia leaves the landfill with her companion. However, Irene talks to Godfrey that she wanted to beat Cornelia to it and he accepts to go with her to win the prize. Irene offers the position of butler to Godfrey and tells her parents Alexander (Eugene Palette) and Angelica Bullock (Alice Brady) that she has hired Godfrey to work for their dysfunctional family in their mansion. Irene has an infatuation on Godfrey and protects him while Cornelia hates him and wants to harm him. During a party in the Bullock's house, the Harvard graduated investor Tommy Gray (Alan Mowbray) recognizes Godfrey and salutes him. But the butler asks him to keep the secret of his past and schedules an encounter in the restaurant to explain what is happening.

"My Man Godfrey" is a delightfully naive and funny romantic comedy with magnificent performances of William Powell and Carole Lombard, who is wonderful in the role of a spoiled and reckless woman. The dialogs have great moments and one of the best quotes is when Godfrey Parker tells to Tommy Gray that "the only difference between a derelict and a man is a job". "My Man Godfrey" had six nominations to the Oscar in 1937 (Best Actor in a Leading Role: William Powell; Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Mischa Auer; Best Actress in a Leading Role: Carole Lombard; Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Alice Brady; Best Director: Gregory La Cava; and Best Writing, Screenplay: Eric Hatch and Morrie Ryskind). My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Irene, a Teimosa" ("Irene, the Stubborn")


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