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My Man Godfrey
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|Format||Full Screen, NTSC|
|Contributor||William Powell, Carole Lombard, Gail Patrick, Alice Brady, Eugene Pallette, Alan Mowbray|
|Runtime||1 hour and 36 minutes|
Classic screwball comedy with Lombard as madcap heiress who hires Powell as butler after finding him on garbage hunt. Marvelously funny Powell teaches them money isn't everything. From Eric Hatch novel. Academy Award nominations for Best Director-Gregory LaCava; Best Actor-Powell; Best Actress-Lombard; Best Supporting Actor-Mowbray; Best Supporting Actress-Brady; and Best Screenplay-Eric Hatch and Morris Ryskinch.
- Package Dimensions : 7.52 x 5.31 x 0.55 inches; 2.08 Ounces
- Media Format : Full Screen, NTSC
- Run time : 1 hour and 36 minutes
- Release date : March 22, 2016
- Actors : William Powell, Carole Lombard, Gail Patrick, Alice Brady, Eugene Pallette, Alan Mowbray
- Studio : Team Marketing
- ASIN : B01CUWWZOO
- Country of Origin : USA
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: #76,343 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- #9,598 in Comedy (Movies & TV)
- Customer Reviews:
Reviewed in the United States on November 21, 2020
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A wealthy/ broken man who’s given up on life is discovered by a debutante. Ends up becoming the butler to her very wealthy family. He discovers the family stays in utter chaos. The debutante falls in love with him almost immediately and is determined he will love her too. Momma has a worthless protégé and father has had his gut full. Wonderful!!!
The film was deemed "culturally significant" back in 1999 and was selected by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
"My Man Godfrey" has been available many times on DVD with the most significant release from The Criterion Collection back in 2001 which included a new digital transfer, audio commentary, rare outttakes (which can be found on YouTube) and the complete 1938 broadcast of the Lux Radio Theater adaptation. But in 2005, Legend Films had their own release of "My Man Godfrey" and this time using their latest technology of colorization and presenting both the original black and white feature plus their colorized version on one DVD disc. The difference between the two is that the Criterion Collection version cost around $[...], the Legend Films version can be found under $[...].
Having watched the film in black and white and enjoying the film, I was curious to see how colorization had improved since the analog Ted Turner colorized films of the early '90s. According to Legend Films, before beginning their colorization, they thoroughly research the era when the film was made to ensure that every color and hue is historically accurate. Then, each frame is individually colorized.
For me, this would be an interesting experience to see if colorization of a black and white film is still worth watching. The experience was for me, not that great back in the early 90's but with technology advancements, I would hope things to look much better today.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
"My Man Godfrey" has been presented in various formats and having seen the film via public domain and from what I've read from other reviews of other DVD's, The Criterion Collection and the Legends film versions are the best out there right now.
With that being said, The Criterion Collection went through digital restoration and remastering when they released the film. As for this Legend Films version, we get the original theatrical trailer in black and white and the colorized version. And the film on this Legend Films DVD has been remastered and restored as well.
Both versions of the film are presented in full frame (aspect ratio 1:33:1) definitely has its share of scratches, dust and warping but it's not bad compared to the public domain videos I have seen of the film. The black and white version offered on this DVD has nice deep blacks, clear grays and its share of grain.
The colorized version is actually well done and I can definitely see major improvement versus the colorized films I watched back in the '90s. But there are instances where people and objects in the background tend to have this gray tinge at times (which is very few) but one thing I noticed is how fire looks very real with its orange colors, how certain clothing and objects nicely shimmers through various lighting. The films has plenty of crowd scenes and those scenes with characters wearing different colors worked quite well. Noticed the coloration of the hair and the animals that were done quite well. But most strikingly the blue eyes of William Powell and Carole Lombard which looks great. So, overall The colorization of "My Man Godfrey" is very well done.
As for audio, the film is presented in monaural. For those with a current home theater receiver and a good speaker setup may find setting audio settings with stereo on all channels for a more immersive soundtrack.
Despite the packaging saying that this DVD does include English subtitles, there are NO subtitles included on either the color or B&W version of the film.
"My Man Godfrey" comes with a colorized theatrical trailer (:54).
"My Man Godfrey" is one of the best screwball comedies of American cinema.
The film is witty, charming and just fun and delightful. Carole Lombard shows off her comedic talent and it's quite interesting to see her character of Irene interacting with her older sister Cornelia (Gail Patrick). Around Godfrey, Irene is naive and just head over heels for him, while with Cornelia she changes to this pushy younger sister who is quick to anger and when around her father, she's like the young daughter wanting her father to comfort her. It's her actions that make this film quite intriguing and makes you wonder if she's a bit off.
But like Irene, her mother is a much more naive person who is not hip to the jargon used by her daughters. Alice Brady does a fine job of playing the mother Angelica Bullock and nearly retains that comedic flare that she did in the Astaire/Rogers film "The Gay Divorcee". Eugene Pallette plays the perfect, no-nonsense father and last but not least, William Powell as the suave and cool, Godfrey.
"My Man Godfrey" benefits from star talent, a hilarious and witty screenplay but also beautiful production quality on the sets and also costume design. I do feel that "My Man Godfrey" ends abruptly in the most screwball type of way. So, I suppose the ending is quite appropriate.
Overall, "My Man Godfrey" is one of those films that classic movie fans should have in their collection. Granted, the Criterion Collection version has the most features but is the most expensive of the bunch at $[...]. For those who don't need the scholar commentary or radio show, then this DVD version of "My Man Godfrey" is definitely worth it as you get two versions of the film and you can find the DVD at under $[...] .
If you enjoy "My Man Godfrey",this Legend Films release is definitely a DVD worth picking up!
Eighty years have passed since the making of the film and this causes me to bring up two things that the current audience may not get. This is a prime example of what was called a "Screwball Comedy" as are It Happened One Night, Bringing Up Baby, The Awful Truth and many others. It was mostly popular in the Thirties and early Forties until the War made it seem out of place because it's mostly a type of farce. The form inhabits almost a fantasy world where everything is exaggerated and not quite like reality, full of rapid dialogue, outlandish situations and often different social classes intermingling with comic results. in this case as in almost all these comedies, the wealthy family (the Bullock's) are revealed as a bunch of nitwits and eccentrics with no knowledge of everyday reality, especially during the Depression. The characters are fairly standard: an airheaded mother, the airhead mother's protege (a hanger on with pretensions of artistic talent), a sweet daughter, a snobby daughter or son, a down to earth businessman father, a nice housekeeper and loyal butler. No butler here, nor is there a chauffeur who spouts leftist slogans, but the rest are standard. The rich were shown to be out of touch zanies because it made for lots of comic possibilities.
So to enjoy the film you have to set aside notions of it happening in the real world and see it as the kind of fantasy where a magical character, in this case William Powell's Godfrey, come on the scene to set things right in a family that is highly disfunctional. The superb opening shows the callously clueless rich visiting the local dump to find a "Forgotten Man" (a euphemism for some of the jobless who had reached a staggering 25%) for their scavenger hunt. The scene in the hotel ballroom with a typically frazzled Franklin Pangborn overseeing the scavenged items is equally priceless, peaking with an exasperated Godfrey calling the crowd a collection of nitwits to their faces, This sets up the rest of the film, where Godfrey accepts employment from Irene Bullock as the family's butler which provides the action of the rest of the film.
William Powell and Carole Lombard work wonderfully well together, he being the unwilling subject of her romantic interest. Powell had recommended her for the part as they had been married until three years prior and he said their romance had been a lot like that in the film. In the end things are set straight: Father Bullock (Eugene Palette with his wonderfully gruff voice and exasperated manner) learns some humility; snobby and cruel daughter Cornelia (Gail Patrick) sees how wicked she has been,; Carlo, the leech, (Mischa Auer) is kicked out; and ditsy mother Angelica (Aice Brady), well, she's really too old to change, but was always harmless anyway.
But that brings us to Irene (Carole Lombard) and that's where I do have a little trouble with the film. She has apparently used the family's wealth to remain a spoiled ten year old child, and that is how she acts throughout the film. Sure, it's funny, but I expected her to grow, to show some maturity or judgment after knowing Godfrey, but she doesn't change at all. Because of this, I don't quite see what Godfrey really could see in her. But the film is otherwise so good that I have to let that pass, though i do wish she had shown more depth. At least she's a good soul at heart.
There are lots of laughs to be found in My Man Godfrey, and it is also a showcase for William Powell at his best.
PS: Check out the seamless, high-res colorized version, too. It's truly excellent.
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However I have to say I find the morality of this particular movie quite disturbing.
Yes I get the whole 'poking fun at the aristocracy' thing and that the family are portrayed as a little bit crazy, but it's a very gentle poking with a very soft and fluffy stick.
As a counterpoint we have the Forgotten Men", the down and outs who are trying to survive on the garbage of the elite, living on a dump in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge.
What's not revealed is that these forgotten men are a direct result of the Wall Street crash, the consequence of the elite playing Monopoly with peoples lives, something they continue to participate in throughout the movie.
The portrayal of these forgotten men is also condescending, showing them to be basically 'good eggs' who've happened to have fallen on hard times.
Also in relation to these forgotten men, what about the forgotten women and the forgotten children? Apparently they don't exist at all...strange.
At one stage in the film it's pointed out that all these forgotten men need to integrate them back into society is a job. So what does the 'hero' of the movie come up with to give these unfortunates salvation?
Why what else but a night club!! He gives them the ability to regain their decency and their usefulness to society by being servants pandering to the elite. How uplifting.
So now normality is restored after that inconvenient stock market crash nuisance and the rich can go back to being rich while the rest can go back to serving them and we'll all live happily ever after and know our place in the world.
And in a few short years after this film was released the elite will continue to play Monopoly, except this time it will be with countries rather than stocks, and all the forgotten men can go off to fight other forgotten men and die in the name of 'duty' and 'honour'. Strangely the elite never seem to be the ones who die though do they?
But getting back to the storyline...
It's never actually explained how a Boston aristocrat ended up living with down-and-outs in cardboard city, with just some vague reference to 'giving away his wealth to a woman'?? Is it just me or does one of the main ingredients of the plot come over as about as weak as an aristocratic kitten?
And on to the ending.
The Carole Lombard character is vapid, obviously deranged, deluded, and devoid of morality, so when on a whim she decides to marry the William Powell character, why naturally he just goes along with it. Sure who wouldn't want to marry a crazy woman.
Then they can produce more crazy privileged elite offspring, and the rest of us can end up paying for their life of privilege too. It's a wonderful life isn't it?
The quality of the DVD itself is also very poor. For some unknown reason a red blob briefly appears a number of times during viewing, and some form of distortion waves are present during the first 30 minutes or so.
Powell very competently plays his character, emphasising the butler's role as the only sane man in the asylum, while around him Lombard leaps and weeps to get his attention. The film ends rather quietly however, in contrast to the lunacy which precedes it, but all is resolved happily, nonetheless.
DVD quality is fair.
Elstree Hill Entertainment.
I have already been made painfully aware in the past of just how bad the output of this company is. I can't believe I neglected to check which release this was before I purchased it. As soon as I took it out of the packaging and saw their name emblazoned across the box - my heart sank!
Hey ho - another lesson learned.
I'm hoping one of the other editions of this wonderful movie have treated it with the respect it deserves.
As an experiment I order the colourised version of this film for A) the novelty factor and B) you can't colourise a film without paying at least some attention to the basic black and white print itself.
I'm not really a fan of colourising B&W films but my hunch on thought B) turned out to be correct and this colourised version offers by far the best picture and also sound quality I have seen on a DVD of this film.
The colourisation is subtle (possibly a bit too muted) but the care gone into restoring the original black and white print is very evident. Pleasingly film grain is still visible which shows the film hasn't been completely "scrubbed" of its original character.
With the TV colour turned all the way down you end up with a wonderfully clean black and white image that would only be bettered with full HD restoration transferred to Blu-ray.
There is a Criterion Edition of My Man Godfrey and based on past efforts should also offer excellent picture quality but that DVD costs more than four times the price of My Man Godfrey (Digitally re-mastered in colour) [DVD] .
The quality of the picture on the DVD is actually worse than my old recording. It contains more coding artifacts and a lower brightness range. The sound is also worse, being more 'muffled', with occasional drop outs at the beginning of quiet speech (probably due to aggressive 'compander' settings) and the loss of some background sounds.