My Man Godfrey

1936

My Man Godfrey

Critics Consensus

A class satire in a class of its own, My Man Godfrey's screwball comedy is as sharp as the social commentary is biting.

97%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 32

90%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 7,617
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Movie Info

A scatterbrained socialite hires Godfrey, a vagrant, as a family butler, but there's more to Godfrey than meets the eye.

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Cast

Carole Lombard
as Irene Bullock
Eugene Pallette
as Alexander Bullock
Alice Brady
as Angelica Bullock
Gail Patrick
as Cornelia Bullock
Alan Mowbray
as Tommy Gray
Jean Dixon
as Molly, Maid
Robert Light
as Faithful George
Bob Perry
as Bob, the Hobo
Franklin Pangborn
as Scorekeeper
Selmer Jackson
as Blake, a Guest
Robert Perry
as Doorman
Phyllis Crane
as Party guest
Grady Sutton
as Van Rumple
Jack Chefe
as Headwaiter
Eddie Featherston
as Process Server
Edward Gargan
as Detective
James Flavin
as Detective
Arthur Singley
as Chauffeur
Jane Wyman
as Girl at Party
Grace Field
as Socialite
Selmar Jackson
as Blake, a Guest
Katherine Perry
as Socialite
Harley Wood
as Socialite
David Ward
as Van Rumple
Elaine Cochrane
as Socialite
Philip Merrick
as Socialite
Chick Collins
as Double for William Powell
Ernie S. Adams
as Forgotten Man
Eddie Fetherstone
as Process Server
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News & Interviews for My Man Godfrey

Critic Reviews for My Man Godfrey

All Critics (32) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (31) | Rotten (1)

  • My Man Godfrey emerges with that evasive quality that is not skillful playing, writing or direction, but something that mysteriously adds itself to these things, and makes a tip-top picture.

    Apr 24, 2009 | Full Review…
    TIME Magazine
    Top Critic
  • [A] screwball masterpiece.

    Feb 6, 2009 | Full Review…
  • God, but this film is beautiful.

    Feb 6, 2009 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • Gregory La Cava's improvisational style received its highest critical acclaim for this 1936 film, a marginally Marxist exercise in class confusion during the Depression.

    Feb 6, 2009 | Full Review…
  • William Powell and Carole Lombard are pleasantly teamed in this splendidly produced comedy.

    Oct 18, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • The film has lost some of its allure over the years, but it's still streets and streets ahead of the addled whimsy favoured by latter-day Hollywood.

    Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for My Man Godfrey

  • Oct 21, 2018
    A delightful comedy with lovable stars and some nice social messages as well. You don't get much better than William Powell for a leading man in the 1930's, and he's as charming as always as a hobo who is hired as a butler by a rich family. Carole Lombard is one of the two daughters, and because she's so ditzy and disconnected from the real world, you'd think her character would be one you'd hate; however, she's so lovable in her hopelessly romantic outlook, and how silly she gets when she falls in love with Godfrey, that you can't help but smile when she's on the screen. She's just wonderful in her overly dramatic moments, trying comically to assume a sorrowful pose, seduce Godfrey with her gaze, and make grand, sweeping gestures. In one scene, as she expresses her torment theatrically, her sister (Gail Patrick) quips, "Oh, I remember that pose so well. I learned it in Dramatics School. It's Number 8 isn't it?" I love the little ways both stars use their bodies in this film, for example, when Powell struts across the room whistling a tune after he's had a few drinks on his day off, and when Lombard's head bobs around like a rag doll's when he picks her up over his shoulder and takes her up the stairs. The script is peppered with clever dialogue, rapid jokes, and lines that engage us, such as Lombard saying "You have a wonderful sense of humor. I wish I had a sense of humor, but I can never think of the right thing to say until everybody's gone home." While the film has a lot of zaniness, it also delivers messages that were pitch perfect for the Great Depression, and which we could use a dose of today. When we first meet the sisters, they're on a scavenger hunt for a 'forgotten man', who they must bring back to a lavish party, completely oblivious to his situation, and treating him as an object. The film keeps up its satire of the wealthy, showing them as vapid and spoiled, but at the same time, it shows us that everyone - rich or poor - sometimes needs a helping hand in life. The film is really about understanding others, even when someone seems pretty far removed from our own situation. About the poor, Godfrey says "The only difference between a derelict and a man is a job." To Gail Patrick's character, who's been an adversary the whole movie, he says "You taught me the fallacy of false pride. You taught me humility," before encouraging her to use her "high spirits in a more constructive way." He's got civility, empathy, and class, and it's a lovely counterpart to Lombard's lovable melodrama.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 28, 2014
    A witty political satire that will probably leave you smiling more than laughing out loud, especially when showing the hilarious eccentricities of its crazy family, and it boasts some wonderful, Oscar-nominated performances by Powell, Lombard and Brady.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 15, 2014
    I loved this film. Godfrey is an absolute delight as an unlikely family butler. A true treat.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Nov 03, 2013
    A comedy from the 30's that actually holds up quite nicely. Still funny, and great performances from William Powell and Carole Lombard... especially Lombard. Did you know that they used to call hobos "forgotten men" back in the day? Well, if you're like me, you'll find that out after watching this movie!
    Jared H Super Reviewer

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