William Powell and Carole Lombard had been married and divorced before they played opposite one another in this film. In casting Powell had suggested Universal use Lombard for the part. I guess there were no hard feelings between them.
My man Godfrey has been through it’s phases; first as a black and white romantic comedy, then brought to life with a splash of color, it even went Criterion at one point. That being said if your looking to add the Universal 100th Anniversary edition to your collection there are a few things you should know before you do.
Are you one of those purists that think if a film was presented in black and white it should stay black and white? If you are don’t let the lovely full color presentation on the front of the case fool you. The film is indeed presented in its original black and white presentation. If your like me and found the film on Netflix and watched it your probably wondering if the audio has been remastered for this release. I know the Netflix version was pretty awful. I had to throw on subtitles a few times, like when Lombard first brings Powell back to the scavenger hunt headquarters and has to shout over the dozen or so people all yelling at the same time. Other then that I guess the audio was pretty good. It still had a bit of that hollow tinge to it but overall not bad. From what I’ve read it’s just about as close to the Criterion version as your going to get. Okay, sure.
For those not in the know the film is about a down on his luck man living in a shanty named Godfrey who is found living in the city dump by a pair of socialites who are participating in a scavenger hunt. Powell plays Godfrey, the “Lost Man” who can help Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard) finally beat her sister Cornelia (Gail Patrick) at something. Upon doing so Irene gives Godfrey a job with the family as their butler. Godfrey is a great butler but must contest with Irene’s romantic advances, her Father’s mood swings, sisters trickery, and mother’s goofiness. While Godfrey discovers many interesting things about the family none of them are able to discover the truth about Godfrey.
My Man Godfrey is a screwball romantic comedy set in the Great Depression era and stars William Powell and Carole Lombard as Godfrey and Irene. The film is hilarious but all in all really felt like it would have been better as the basis for a TV pilot which gives you enough information about the two leads and leaves out with an open ended ending that doesn’t feel final. As far as I know there was never a sequel to My Man Godfrey.
While the film is really good my favorite part of the DVD had to come in the supplemental features. The first feature is about Carl Laemmle, the founder of Universal. His story is very inspiring as he started out as an immigrant in this country and who helped to rescue his people from the on coming tyranny of Adolph Hitler in his home country of Germany. Very good little documentary. The next is about Lew Wasserman. Wasserman was one of the biggest agents in his time who helped establish new boundaries for actors to become the powerhouses that they are today. Also a great little doc. Well worth the purchase of My Man Godfrey to see them.