Eighty-three years ago today, the film My Man Godfrey premiered. I was walking to work the other day and had a revelation. I decided then and there that without a doubt, my favorite film is and will forever be this film. It is a wonderful film, a perfect example of a screwball comedy. And it provides hope, exemplifies second chances and expresses the worth of the “forgotten man.” You can watch the entire movie below and I highly suggest you do.
My Man Godfrey
Directed by: Gregory La Cava
Produced by: Charles R. Rogers
Written by: Eric Hatch, Morrie Ryskind, Gregory LaCava (uncredited)
Starring: William Powell, Carole Lombard, Alice Brady, Gail Patrick, Jean Dixon, Eugene Pallette, Alan Mowbray
Music by: Charles Previn, Rudy Schrager (both uncredited)
Cinematography: Ted Tetzlaff
Edited by: Ted J. Kent, Russell F. Schoengarth
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Release dates: September 6, 1936
Running time: 94 minutes
Budget: $656,000 (est.)
Box office: $684,200
In New York post-Great Depression, the spoiled socialites Irene Bullock and her sister Cornelia Bullock 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 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 and Angelica Bullock that she has hired Godfrey to work for their dysfunctional family in their mansion. Irene has a crush 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 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.