Thursday, October 8, 2009

Have I never blogged about My Man Godfrey?

Well, not a full post, although I've mentioned it in passing once or twice. However, the classic screwball comedy My Man Godfrey is airing tonight at 11:15 PM ET on TCM.

Carole Lombard stars as a ditzy socialite who's involved in a scavenger hunt for charity. One of the things she needs to win is a "forgotten man", and at the city dump, she and her sister meet the perfect forgotten man: William Powell Lombard takes Powell back to the headquarters of the scavenger hunt, wins the hunt, and then, after the hunt, gets him a job as the butler in her family's posh estate.

Unfortunately for Powell, this is one nutty family for which he'll be working. Not only is daughter Lombard flighty; the other daughter (Gail Patrick) is a terrible snob who hates Powell; and Mother (Alice Brady) is busy funding her protégé (Mischa Auer), a Russian immigrant who really can't sing. Powell has to put up with all this, as does the poor father (Eugene Pallette), who also has to deal with serious financial problems, as it looks like his business might go under. There is a Depression on, after all.

Fortunately for Father Pallette, though, Powell is there to help save the day, not only as a sympathetic ear for Pallette's personal problems, but also with a plan to save the business. Powell, it seems, is not a "forgotten man" but a man with a past, trying to hide that past from both the family for which he's working, and the wealthy Boston family into which he was born.

My Man Godfrey is zany an incredibly fast-paced, filled with non-stop laughs. It's got two great stars in the leads, and a bunch of good second-tier actors playing the supporting roles. If actors back in the Studio Era had egos like the stars of today do, at least they were better about hiding those egos on the screen. Movies like this were "escapist" comedy for the people having to deal with that Depression, and I can certainly imagine people being entertained for an hour and a half. You will be, too.

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