4 March 2008 | Spikeopath
I see a room full of empty headed nitwits!
If I was the sort of person who scrutinised every frame of my viewings looking for flaws, then I still wouldn't have issue here because My Man Godfrey has no cracks in its make up. It is perfect cinema from a golden age that we rarely see in this day and age. During a rich person's socialite scavenger hunt, air head Irene Bullock wins the contest to see who can find a forgotten man, a hobo, and showcase him at the toffs party. She falls for the charisma of down and out Godfrey Parke and gives him the job of Butler to the family Bullock. This of course bemuses the family, even more so when Godfrey turns out to be far more than they originally thought.
My Man Godfrey is one of those old classic comedies that has satire at its heart, for here the rich are firmly in the target sights of the makers, and it's they who come across as bumbling buffoons. Godfrey the hobo is the one with tact and grace, and it is he who is the one they all should take their markers from. Yet as important as the social message is, and it is, it's the brilliant comedy that shines bright and comes to the fore. This is an electric script benefiting from great work from all involved who put the words onto film.
William Powell is Godfrey, it's a perfect performance as he is never flustered as he delivers the funny lines with caustic impact. Carole Lombard is just precious as the dopey love sick Irene, making her interplay with Powell as comedy gold. My favourite of the bunch, though, is Eugene Palette as Alexander, the father of this bizarro family, every mannerism and every line out of his mouth had me in utter stitches. I must also mention that of the 6 Oscars the film was nominated for, I'm stunned there wasn't one for Gail Patrick as Cornelia, it's devilishly icy and weasel like, and she impacted hard on me to the point that I wanted to strangle her, job done, a great performance from her.
Truth is, they are all great, from the actors to the director, from the editor to the writer, My Man Godfrey is a truly brilliant film that easily entered my top 100 greatest films list today. 10/10