William Powell, Alan Mowbray, My Man Godfrey (1936)

    Newer Older

    Now colorized and restored, the classic 1936 film about America's "forgotten men" during the Great Depression was nominated for 8 Oscars. The cast included William Powell, Carole Lombard, Alice Brady, Gail Patrick, Eugene Pallette, Jean Dixon, Alan Mowbray, and Mischa Auer. The romantic comedy was directed by Gregory La Cava. This is the only film to receive Oscar nominations for writing, directing, and all four acting awards without being nominated for Best Picture. "My Man Godfrey" was also the only film in Hollywood history to receive those six nominations without winning in any of the categories until seven-plus decades later when 2013's "American Hustle" starring Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, and Jennifer Lawrence, racked up zero Oscars in its nominated acting, directing, and writing categories. It also was nominated for (and lost) the Best Picture Oscar.

    Synopsis, via IMDb:
    In the depths of the Depression, a party game brings dizzy socialite Irene Bullock to the city dump where she meets Godfrey, a derelict, and ends by hiring him as family butler. He finds the Bullocks to be the epitome of idle rich, and nutty as the proverbial fruitcake. Soon, the dramatizing Irene is in love with her 'protege'... who feels strongly that a romance between servant and employer is out of place, regardless of that servant's mysterious past.

    A bit of trivia, via IMDb:
    Although stars William Powell and Carole Lombard had been divorced for three years by the time they made this, when offered the part Powell declared that the only actress right for the part of Irene was Lombard. He suggested his ex-wife for the lead female role with the explanation that his real life romance with Lombard had been much the same as it was for the characters of Godfrey and Irene.
     
    When William Powell and director Gregory La Cava had a disagreement over how Godfrey should be played, they talked it out over a bottle of Scotch in Powell's dressing room. The next day, LaCava returned to the movie set with a major headache, but Powell was not there. The director received a telegram from his star: "WE MAY HAVE FOUND GODFREY LAST NIGHT BUT WE LOST POWELL. SEE YOU TOMORROW."
     
    Carole Lombard had a habit of ad-libbing by inserting swear words into the dialogue, which necessitated the re-shooting of several scenes.
     
    Premiere voted this movie as one of "The 50 Greatest Comedies of All Time" in 2006.
     
    The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film.
     
    Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the 400 movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.
     
    When "My Man Godfrey" was adapted and broadcast as an episode of the Lux Radio Theater on May 9, 1938, David Niven portrayed Tommy Gray. Niven would later star in the remake, "My Man Godfrey" (1957).

    **********
    Fair Use Doctrine; if you use this photo, please provide attribution credit; not for commercial use (see Creative Commons license).

    keyboard shortcuts: previous photo next photo L view in light box F favorite < scroll film strip left > scroll film strip right ? show all shortcuts