My Man Godfrey (1936)

94-95 mins | Screwball comedy | 6 September 1936

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HISTORY

A news item in HR notes that this film was banned in Hungary. According to a news item in HR , My Man Godfrey was "the sensation of the week's business of the first run London theatres. The heavy throng congregating daily for the picture has been causing traffic jams in Leicester Square." My Man Godfrey was nominated for the 1936 Academy Awards in the following categories: Best Actor, William Powell; Best Actress, Carole Lombard; Best Supporting Actor, Mischa Auer; Best Supporting Actress, Alice Brady; Best Direction, Gregory La Cava; Best Screenplay, Eric Hatch and Morrie Ryskind. Modern sources note that La Cava agreed to work with Constance Bennett, the studio's first choice for "Irene," only if William Powell was borrowed from M-G-M for the male lead. Powell, however, stipulated in his contract that he would play "Godfrey" only if Carole Lombard played "Irene." At this time, Powell and Lombard were already divorced. Modern sources also note that Ronald Colman, among other actors, expressed interest in playing "Godfrey."
       Universal remade My Man Godfrey under the same title in 1957. That film was directed by Henry Koster and starred David Niven and June Allyson (see entry belolw). In 1985, Allan Carr created a Broadway stage production of My Man Godfrey ... More Less

A news item in HR notes that this film was banned in Hungary. According to a news item in HR , My Man Godfrey was "the sensation of the week's business of the first run London theatres. The heavy throng congregating daily for the picture has been causing traffic jams in Leicester Square." My Man Godfrey was nominated for the 1936 Academy Awards in the following categories: Best Actor, William Powell; Best Actress, Carole Lombard; Best Supporting Actor, Mischa Auer; Best Supporting Actress, Alice Brady; Best Direction, Gregory La Cava; Best Screenplay, Eric Hatch and Morrie Ryskind. Modern sources note that La Cava agreed to work with Constance Bennett, the studio's first choice for "Irene," only if William Powell was borrowed from M-G-M for the male lead. Powell, however, stipulated in his contract that he would play "Godfrey" only if Carole Lombard played "Irene." At this time, Powell and Lombard were already divorced. Modern sources also note that Ronald Colman, among other actors, expressed interest in playing "Godfrey."
       Universal remade My Man Godfrey under the same title in 1957. That film was directed by Henry Koster and starred David Niven and June Allyson (see entry belolw). In 1985, Allan Carr created a Broadway stage production of My Man Godfrey . More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
12 Jun 36
p. 3.
Film Daily
16 Jun 36
p. 24.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jun 36
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jun 36
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Oct 36
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jan 37
p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald
6 Jun 36
p. 43.
Motion Picture Herald
20 Jun 36
p. 67.
MPSI
1 Aug 36
p. 20.
New York Times
19 Sep 36
p. 18.
Variety
23 Sep 36
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Gregory La Cava Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Exec prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Supv film ed
COSTUMES
Miss Lombard's gowns
Other wardrobe by
MUSIC
Mus dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr clerk
STAND INS
Double for William Powell
Stand-in for William Powell
Stand-in for Carole Lombard
Stand-in for Alice Brady
Stand-in for Gail Patrick
Stand-in for Eugene Pallette
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel My Man Godfrey by Eric Hatch (Boston, 1935).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
6 September 1936
Production Date:
15 April--27 May 1936
retakes early June 1936
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
27 August 1936
Copyright Number:
LP6572
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
94-95
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
2302
SYNOPSIS

When New York socialites Cornelia and Irene Bullock both go to the city dump to obtain a "forgotten man" for a scavenger hunt being conducted at the Waldorf-Ritz Hotel, they encounter down-and-out Godfrey Parke. Insulted by Cornelia's presumptuous offer of five dollars, the well-spoken Godfrey pushes her into an ashpile. He is charmed by her sister Irene, however, and agrees to be turned in as a "find." Irene wins the contest, but Godfrey is disgusted by the careless attitude of the wealthy crowd and deems it a pleasure to return to the dump. Smitten by Godfrey, however, Irene hires him as the family butler, despite the fact that Cornelia vows to make his life miserable. Their scatterbrained mother Angelica supports a resident protégé named Carlos, a fop who does gorilla imitations and eats everything in sight. Irene takes after her mother, and her father Alexander worries about his family's extravagance. When Irene falls in love with Godfrey and kisses him, he admonishes her, and she sulks. During a tea party thrown by Irene, one of the guests, Tommy Gray, recognizes Godfrey as an old college chum. In order to keep his past a secret, Tommy claims Godfrey was his valet and is married with five children. Irene is horrified by this revelation and, out of spite, suddenly announces her engagement to Charlie Van Rumple, a young heir whom she had rebuffed only a few moments before. Tommy and Godfrey meet privately for lunch, and Godfrey's background is revealed to be old Bostonian wealth. He tells Tommy he became a derelict by his own choosing after a bitter disappointment in love. Later Cornelia ... +


When New York socialites Cornelia and Irene Bullock both go to the city dump to obtain a "forgotten man" for a scavenger hunt being conducted at the Waldorf-Ritz Hotel, they encounter down-and-out Godfrey Parke. Insulted by Cornelia's presumptuous offer of five dollars, the well-spoken Godfrey pushes her into an ashpile. He is charmed by her sister Irene, however, and agrees to be turned in as a "find." Irene wins the contest, but Godfrey is disgusted by the careless attitude of the wealthy crowd and deems it a pleasure to return to the dump. Smitten by Godfrey, however, Irene hires him as the family butler, despite the fact that Cornelia vows to make his life miserable. Their scatterbrained mother Angelica supports a resident protégé named Carlos, a fop who does gorilla imitations and eats everything in sight. Irene takes after her mother, and her father Alexander worries about his family's extravagance. When Irene falls in love with Godfrey and kisses him, he admonishes her, and she sulks. During a tea party thrown by Irene, one of the guests, Tommy Gray, recognizes Godfrey as an old college chum. In order to keep his past a secret, Tommy claims Godfrey was his valet and is married with five children. Irene is horrified by this revelation and, out of spite, suddenly announces her engagement to Charlie Van Rumple, a young heir whom she had rebuffed only a few moments before. Tommy and Godfrey meet privately for lunch, and Godfrey's background is revealed to be old Bostonian wealth. He tells Tommy he became a derelict by his own choosing after a bitter disappointment in love. Later Cornelia tries to set Godfrey up by planting her pearls under his bed and calling the police, but a search reveals nothing, and Alexander, suspicious of his daughter's motives, encourages the police to drop the matter. When Irene's engagement is broken, she and Cornelia go on a lengthy trip to Europe. Godfrey, meanwhile, re-visits the dump with Tommy, where he hits on a scheme to turn the forgotten men into working men. When Irene returns from Europe, she still longs for Godfrey and assumes a melodramatic depression. After a beleaguered Alexander announces he is broke, Godfrey surprises everyone by resigning and revealing that he had taken the pearls from his bed and used them as collateral for stocks he played on the market in Alexander's name, thereby saving the family fortune. He returns the pearls to Cornelia, who apologizes for treating him shabbily. Having learned something from each member of the family, Godfrey bids them farewell and returns to the city dump, which he has transformed into a nightclub that employs his fellow derelicts. Irene follows him and determinedly sets up housekeeping. Tommy, who is aware of Irene's intentions, sends the mayor into Godfrey's office in the nightclub, and much to the surprise of a dumbfounded Godfrey, he and Irene are married. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.