"My Man Godfrey" Is Released
My Man Godfrey is a screwball comedy film released in 1936 by Universal Pictures, directed by Gregory LaCava.
It was adapted from Eric Hatch's novel 1101 Park Avenue by Hatch himself and Morrie Ryskind, with uncredited contributions by LaCava. The story concerns a socialite who hires a derelict to be her family's butler, only to fall in love with him, much to his dismay. The film stars William Powell and Carole Lombard, supported by Alice Brady, Gail Patrick, Eugene Pallette, Mischa Auer and Alan Mowbray.
The 1957 remake starred June Allyson and David Niven.
In 1999, My Man Godfrey was deemed "culturally significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
One of the landmark "screwball" comedies of the 1930s, My Man Godfrey offers the radiant Carole Lombard in her definitive performance as flighty young heiress Irene Bullock, who on a society scavenger hunt stumbles on Godfrey (William Powell), an erudite hobo residing in the city dump. Godfrey becomes the family's butler, much to the dismay of Irene's father Alexander (Eugene Pallette), who thinks his household is crazy enough without another apparent lunatic under his roof. Halfway through the film, we discover that Godfrey isn't a penniless bum at all, but the scion of a wealthy Boston family. Having been burned by an unhappy romance, Godfrey dropped out of life, taking up residence in the dump. Here his faith in humanity was restored by his fellow indigents, who managed to survive and remain optimistic despite the worst deprivations. Meanwhile, however, he wants to straighten out the Bullock family, who he feels are a basically decent bunch beneath all their pretensions and eccentricities -- and along the way, of course, Irene determines that Godfrey will be her husband. While Godfrey's ultimate "solution" to the exigencies of the Depression seems more of a placebo, My Man Godfrey is all in all a totally satisfying jolt of 1930s-style wish fulfillment. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide