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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Her Man Godfrey . The opening and closing cast credits vary slightly in order. According to an Oct 1956 “Rambling Reporter” item in HR , Universal considered Doris Day to play “Irene Bullock,” but could not meet her salary demands. In Jan 1957, “Rambling Reporter” noted that Eva Gabor had tested for the role of “Cordelia Bullock.” European star O. W. Fischer was originally set to make his American feature film debut as “Godfrey,” and in Jan 1957 the studio took out a full-page ad “proudly welcoming” him to Hollywood. According to a Feb 1956 HR article, however, Fischer quit the production over “irreconcilable differences” on the interpretation of his role. A 21 Feb 1956 HR item reported that Universal responded with a lawsuit, asking for $131,860 in damages for refusing to perform according to his contract, and an 11 Mar 1956 HR article stated that the suit was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum. David Niven took over the role of Godfrey on 22 Feb 1957. The film’s Los Angeles premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre marked the theater’s thirtieth anniversary.
       HR news items add the following actors to the cast: Eugene Borden, Janine Grandel, Carole Van Kirk, Charles Lind, Reg Harrell, Perk Lazell, June McCall, June Blair, Betty Quitte, Les Thomas, Richard Emory, Hal Taggert, George Peters, Paul Weber, Elizabeth Flournoy, June Joselyn and Leota Lorraine. Their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. My Man Godfrey was a remake of the 1936 Universal film of the same name, which was directed by Gregory La ... More Less

The working title of this film was Her Man Godfrey . The opening and closing cast credits vary slightly in order. According to an Oct 1956 “Rambling Reporter” item in HR , Universal considered Doris Day to play “Irene Bullock,” but could not meet her salary demands. In Jan 1957, “Rambling Reporter” noted that Eva Gabor had tested for the role of “Cordelia Bullock.” European star O. W. Fischer was originally set to make his American feature film debut as “Godfrey,” and in Jan 1957 the studio took out a full-page ad “proudly welcoming” him to Hollywood. According to a Feb 1956 HR article, however, Fischer quit the production over “irreconcilable differences” on the interpretation of his role. A 21 Feb 1956 HR item reported that Universal responded with a lawsuit, asking for $131,860 in damages for refusing to perform according to his contract, and an 11 Mar 1956 HR article stated that the suit was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum. David Niven took over the role of Godfrey on 22 Feb 1957. The film’s Los Angeles premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre marked the theater’s thirtieth anniversary.
       HR news items add the following actors to the cast: Eugene Borden, Janine Grandel, Carole Van Kirk, Charles Lind, Reg Harrell, Perk Lazell, June McCall, June Blair, Betty Quitte, Les Thomas, Richard Emory, Hal Taggert, George Peters, Paul Weber, Elizabeth Flournoy, June Joselyn and Leota Lorraine. Their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. My Man Godfrey was a remake of the 1936 Universal film of the same name, which was directed by Gregory La Cava and starred William Powell and Carole Lombard. Morrie Ryskind and Eric Hatch, who wrote the 1936 film, did not contribute directly to the later film. Their onscreen credits reads: "Based on the screenplay by Morrie Ryskind and Eric Hatch." According to a Jul 1946 HR item, Universal had planned a remake in that year, with Jane Murfin assigned as producer, but that version was never produced. Although an Oct 1955 HR item reported that Morrie Ryskind, Manny Frank and Charles Meeker bought the rights to My Man Godfrey in order to adapt it into musical starring Vivian Blaine, but it was not produced. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
7 Sep 1957.
---
Box Office
14 Sep 1957.
---
Daily Variety
4 Sep 57
p. 3.
Film Daily
4 Sep 57
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jul 1946.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Oct 1955.
---
Hollywood Reporter
30 Oct 1956
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jan 1957
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jan 1957
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Jan 1957
p. 24.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Jan 1957
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Feb 1957
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Feb 1957
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Feb 1957
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Feb 1957
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Feb 1957
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Feb 1957
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Mar 1957
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Mar 1957
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Apr 1957
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Apr 1957
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jul 1957
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Sep 57
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
7 Sep 57
p. 521.
New York Times
12 Oct 57
p. 23.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Stills
ART DIRECTORS
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
Ward
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog
MAKEUP
Makeup
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Scr supv
Dial coach
Unit pub
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel My Man Godfrey by Eric Hatch (Boston, 1935) and the film My Man Godfrey written by Morrie Ryskind and Eric Hatch (Universal, 1936).
SONGS
"My Man Godfrey," words and music by Peggy Lee and Sonny Burke, sung by Sarah Vaughan
"Lovely," words and music by Joseph Gershenson.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Her Man Godfrey
Release Date:
December 1957
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 11 October 1957
Los Angeles opening: 18 October 1957
Production Date:
late January--27 April 1956
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
11 October 1957
Copyright Number:
LP9151
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Eastman Color by Pathé
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Duration(in mins):
92
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
18591
SYNOPSIS

On the eve of their mother’s charity scavenger hunt, which requires competitors to capture a useless animal, spoiled socialite sisters Irene and Cordelia Bullock compete to capture a goat. Irene follows the goat to the docks, where an apparently vagrant man surprises her. He covers her mouth to keep her from screaming, but when he lets her go, she calmly asks after her goat. Charmed by Irene and eager to avoid police detection, the man introduces himself as Godfrey, and helps her outsmart Cordelia by returning to the party with her as her “animal.” Irene’s flighty mother Angelica presides over the chaos at the contest headquarters, while Alexander, her gruff father, looks on in distaste. Upon seeing Godfrey, the crowd roars its approval and Irene is declared the winner. Flushed with her triumph over Cordelia, Irene follows Godfrey into the crowd and offers him a well-paying job as the family butler, intriguing him further by noting that his bearing reveals him to be a gentleman. The next morning, a now clean-shaven Godfrey enters the Bullock kitchen, where Molly, the jaded maid, warns him that no butler has lasted more than one day with the eccentric family. When she calls Irene a “stray-cat collector,” Godfrey replies that some strays need a leg up. Just after noon, Angelica summons Godfrey, who treats her hangover-inspired hallucinations with empathy, earning her instant admiration. Irene then calls for Godfrey, and although she at first does not recognize him, she soon labels him her protégé. Godfrey then goes downstairs, and when a suspicious Alexander attempts to fire him, Irene defends Godfrey ferociously, finally bursting into tears to force her father to relent. Within weeks, ... +


On the eve of their mother’s charity scavenger hunt, which requires competitors to capture a useless animal, spoiled socialite sisters Irene and Cordelia Bullock compete to capture a goat. Irene follows the goat to the docks, where an apparently vagrant man surprises her. He covers her mouth to keep her from screaming, but when he lets her go, she calmly asks after her goat. Charmed by Irene and eager to avoid police detection, the man introduces himself as Godfrey, and helps her outsmart Cordelia by returning to the party with her as her “animal.” Irene’s flighty mother Angelica presides over the chaos at the contest headquarters, while Alexander, her gruff father, looks on in distaste. Upon seeing Godfrey, the crowd roars its approval and Irene is declared the winner. Flushed with her triumph over Cordelia, Irene follows Godfrey into the crowd and offers him a well-paying job as the family butler, intriguing him further by noting that his bearing reveals him to be a gentleman. The next morning, a now clean-shaven Godfrey enters the Bullock kitchen, where Molly, the jaded maid, warns him that no butler has lasted more than one day with the eccentric family. When she calls Irene a “stray-cat collector,” Godfrey replies that some strays need a leg up. Just after noon, Angelica summons Godfrey, who treats her hangover-inspired hallucinations with empathy, earning her instant admiration. Irene then calls for Godfrey, and although she at first does not recognize him, she soon labels him her protégé. Godfrey then goes downstairs, and when a suspicious Alexander attempts to fire him, Irene defends Godfrey ferociously, finally bursting into tears to force her father to relent. Within weeks, Molly has fallen in love with Godfrey and the household is running more smoothly than ever thanks to the new butler. Only the jealous Cordelia treats Godfrey with disdain. One day, while Angelica’s freeloading musical protégé Vincent plays the piano, Alexander announces to his family that they must curtail their expenses. At Cordelia’s suggestion that they fire Godfrey, Irene breaks down in fake spasms and insists that Godfrey attend to her. After everyone leaves, she kisses him, but he walks away. Irene follows him to his room, where she explains that she has no suitors because men are afraid of her, but when Godfrey unceremoniously throws her out, she runs off crying. Soon after, Angelica throws a party for her delinquent teen girls’ charity, at which Irene pointedly snubs Godfrey. Attending the party is jet-setter Francesca Gray, who attracts Cordelia’s attention when she recognizes Godfrey, an old friend. Heeding Godfrey’s hints, Francesca pretends that is a former employee, and fabricates a story that he has five children. Jealous of Godfrey's "wife and family," Irene spitefully announces her engagement to a nearsighted boy named Hubert. The next day, Godfrey and Francesca meet at a restaurant, where he explains that, as a titled Austrian, he served at the Austrian Embassy in England, returned to his native country to fight in World War II, and then left to work on a freighter. Hoping to live in America, he then jumped overboard and swam to shore, where he met Irene, and now is living as an illegal alien. Cordelia spots them and interrupts their discussion to crudely accuse Godfrey of having an affair with Francesca, but after he calls her a brat with no taste, she stalks away. Hours later at the Bullock home, Molly reveals to Irene that she, too, has been ejected from Godfrey’s room, and the two commiserate. Godfrey returns home drunk, and while he attempts to carry out his duties without breaking the china, Cordelia hides a diamond bracelet under his bed and then claims it has been stolen. Police Lieutenant O’Connor arrives and, at Cordelia’s insistence, searches Godfrey’s room but finds nothing. When Alexander sees Cordelia react with shock, he quietly pays off the policeman and then informs his daughter that the uninsured bracelet is now lost forever. That night, Alexander calls Godfrey in to apologize for Cordelia, and after the butler confesses his alien status and offers to assist the family in any way, Alexander reveals that he is about to lose his business. Godfrey then visits Francesca, who is engaged to millionaire James Elliott, and offers his land as collateral toward a loan for Alexander. The next night at dinner, Alexander learns that Elliott has suddenly granted him a business loan, but before he can thank Godfrey, the butler announces that he is quitting. He recites to each family member what he or she has taught him: Angelica, generosity; Alexander, patience; Cordelia, the foolishness of arrogance. When he then returns her bracelet to her, Cordelia admits that she hid it and thanks him sincerely. Godfrey announces he is leaving for Europe in the morning, and inspired by his strength of character, Alexander evicts Vincent. Irene packs to accompany Godfrey, and although he admires her desire to help and love him, he confesses his alien status and asks her to let him go. The next morning, the new butler’s dourness depresses the family, and later the police visit with the news that Godfrey has turned himself in and is being deported. Overhearing them state that the only way he can stay is to marry an American, Irene races to the docks, attracting the attention of a traffic cop along the way. At the dock, as the boat pulls away, Godfrey shouts from the deck that though he loves Irene, he does not want to marry her only out of necessity, and promises to return. The policeman, however, takes pity on Irene and escorts her to a tugboat that meets up with Godfrey’s boat. Soon after, the boat’s captain visits Godfrey’s cabin to announce that he must marry the girl that he has shamed, and although Godfrey is annoyed with Irene for lying, he cannot resist kissing her when she steps into the room. +

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

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