My Man Godfrey [Criterion Collection] [DVD] [1936]

Considered by many as one of the best examples of 1930s screwball comedy, My Man Godfrey could also be touted as one of the funniest Hollywood films from any era. This disc from the Criterion Collection showcases the film in all its rambunctious glory, and offers up a beautifully remastered print that puts to shame any previous video outing. Shown in its theatrical aspect ratio of 1.33:1 (full-frame), the black-and-white picture is sharp and perfectly detailed, with little or no glare from the whites while keeping the blacks consistently balanced and velvety. Truly a magnificent job, especially considering how old the film is and that previous video outings have been lackluster, image and sound wise. The disc has been equipped with an excellent, lively, and informative commentary track by film historian Bob Gilpen. His affection for the film is obvious and he easily convinces one of Godfrey's cinematic greatness, as well as some of its shortcomings. He also offers up some interesting anecdotes pertaining to the film's production and its stars, William Powell and Carole Lombard. The commentary is a definite plus and should warrant more than one listen. Also included on the disc are a few rare outtakes from the film, including a couple of clips of Lombard and her notorious foul mouth, as well as some less "scandalous" bloopers. The complete 60-minute 1938 Lux Radio Theater presentation of Godfrey has also been included on the disc. The requisite still gallery and original theatrical trailer are also available. All in all, a fantastic disc.
$29.99
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Overview

Special Features

  • New digital transfer, with restored image and sound
  • Audio commentary by film historian Bob Gilpin
  • Rare outtakes
  • The complete 1938 broadcast of the Lux Radio Theater adaptation, starring Powell and Lombard
  • Production stills archive
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • English subtitles
  • Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition

Synopsis

My Man Godfrey
One of the landmark "screwball" comedies of the 1930s, My Man Godfrey offers the radiant Carole Lombard in her definitive performance as flighty young heiress Irene Bullock, who on a society scavenger hunt stumbles on Godfrey (William Powell), an erudite hobo residing in the city dump. Godfrey becomes the family's butler, much to the dismay of Irene's father Alexander (Eugene Pallette), who thinks his household is crazy enough without another apparent lunatic under his roof. Halfway through the film, we discover that Godfrey isn't a penniless bum at all, but the scion of a wealthy Boston family. Having been burned by an unhappy romance, Godfrey dropped out of life, taking up residence in the dump. Here his faith in humanity was restored by his fellow indigents, who managed to survive and remain optimistic despite the worst deprivations. Meanwhile, however, he wants to straighten out the Bullock family, who he feels are a basically decent bunch beneath all their pretensions and eccentricities -- and along the way, of course, Irene determines that Godfrey will be her husband. While Godfrey's ultimate "solution" to the exigencies of the Depression seems more of a placebo, My Man Godfrey is all in all a totally satisfying jolt of 1930s-style wish fulfillment. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • William Powell
    William Powell - Godfrey Parke
  • Carole Lombard
    Carole Lombard - Irene Bullock
  • Alice Brady
    Alice Brady - Angelica Bullock
  • Gail Patrick
    Gail Patrick - Cornelia Bullock
  • Jean Dixon
    Jean Dixon - Molly
Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.