Monday, September 12, 2011

Movies You Might Have Missed Monday – My Man Godfrey

Okay, so I’m repeating myself a little again, but I couldn’t pass this one up.

This week’s pick stars, along with Carole Lombard, William Powell, whom I especially like in the Thin Man series. However, My Man Godfrey outshines anything these two have ever done, as well as many of its contemporary films.

Set in America’s Great Depression, Godfrey is a ‘forgotten man’ living in a kind of shantytown at the city dump. One evening, a limo pulls up, and out pops three high society swells, two women and a man, on a scavenger hunt. One of the items on the list, the thing that will fetch the most points, is a ‘forgotten man.’ The two girls are sisters, and the older strolls up to Godfrey with great confidence and offers him five dollars to go with them. Her assuming attitude does not amuse Godfrey and he pushes her into an ash heap. That deeply tickles her sister, Irene (Lombard) who is used to seeing her sister win at everything. She sits down to talk to Godfrey, and her childlike innocence convinces Godfrey to go with her so that she can win the scavenger hunt and beat her sister at something.

One thing leads to another and Godfrey is made the butler of the sisters’ household, which also includes their parents and their mother’s ‘protégée,’ a Russian musician and freeloader. Godfrey soon finds out that this family is quirky to say the least, made eccentric by their ridiculous wealth in a time when most have so little. It’s also soon obvious that Irene is in love with Godfrey, while the older sister is intent on disgracing him all on the account that he pushed her into the ash heap. They all find out, however, that Godfrey is more than he appears.

What ensues is comical and chaotic, but not in a confusing way. Every line has a purpose, each wisecrack building an intelligent and socially pertinent story. The end result is brilliant, entertaining, and so delightful you’ll want to watch it all over again.

Of all the classic films, this has to rank up there in my top ten favorites. It’s a true gem.

I hope you’ll give My Man Godfrey a try!

Happy Movie Watching, Dry Ground friends!

(photo by