My Man Godfrey is one of the top Screwball Comedies of all time. The story of a wealthy New York family in the 1930's that brings in Godfrey, a destitute and Forgotten Man as their butler. William Powell plays the leading ... more »role brilliantly, and gives the family a madcap ride they will never forget. My Man Godfrey was the first film to receive Oscar® nominations in all four acting categories, including stunning performances by William Powell and Carole Lombard. Presented in color for the first time and beautifully restored, this is the definitive DVD edition of My Man Godfrey.« less
I searched out this film because of William Powell--he is one of my new favorite actors, and I am eager to see more of his talents. With that out of the way:
This is NOT a bad movie. There were parts of it I really enjoyed, and I do think he handled his character wonderfully. But this film failed to grab me in the way that the Thin Man movies have, and I ended "My Man Godfrey" feeling a little let down. The plot did not flow as well as it could have, and several of the characters were more than a bit annoying in both voice and personality. Also, the ending was both rushed and cut off at an awkward point. It started with great promise and it was beautifully filmed, but just did not deliver the experience I had hoped for.
It did not change my opinions of any of the actors or actresses involved and you can be certain I will search out more movies featuring William Powell.
Thank You Criterion!
Archmaker | California | 08/03/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"At last, a good clean copy of this wonderful screwball romantic comedy! Much superior to the Hollywood Classics DVD which was washed-out and missing a key scene.Well, this is just one of the best of the half-dozen or so top screwball comedies of the 30's. A dream cast plays it light and loose, with the real world of Depression-era America as a backdrop to a love story and a light lesson in responsibility, both to one's friends & family, to one's society, and to one's better nature.And what a cast. William Powell is the epitome of debonair (what a quaint term: NO ONE is debonair anymore, alas)with one of the best comedic touches and timing in the business. Opposite Powell is Carole Lombard, young, adorable, beautiful and screwy and a perfect foil for Powell's smooth decorum. The supporting cast is first rate: Eugene Pallete the long-suffering businessman/husband; Gail Patrick, the beautiful but bitchy Cornelia; Mischa Auer's deadbeat Carlo; Alice Brady's clueless mother; Jean Dixon's wisecracking maid & Alan Mowbry as the rich & useless but decent Tommy Gray.Enjoy comedy played by pros to a fare-thee-well. It's all attitude and delivery and body english and it is great! They can't make them like this anymore. Style and class.The extras are quite good with a nice commentary track by Bob Gilpin and some hysterical outtakes (yes, they cussed back then too!). The print is pretty much clean and a vast improvement over previous editions."
GREAT FILM, BUT HORRENDOUS TRANSFER TO DVD
Lawrence Wayne | United States | 10/27/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
""My Man Godfrey" is one of the best of the 1930's Screwball comedies, hence the high rating. It would have gotten five stars, but the DVD is taken from an incomplete dupe. The results are, to say the least, virtually unwatchable. Hope is on the horizon; Universal has struck new 35mm prints from the original negative, and it's playing right here in Philly. Hopefully, after the cinema reissue, Universal Studios wil finally do right by this movie and release a pristine DVD(and VHS for those who still only have that)."
Ignore irrelevant reviews---get the glorious 2005 Legend res
Thomas S. | L.A./Missouri | 04/30/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The "First Time In Color" cover of MY MAN GODFREY from the Legend company is the very BEST-----better than the Criterion version, believe it or not---in part, because on Legend you choose to watch color or black and white. In fact, the Legend version is just tremendous and even the color version is miles ahead of the old colorization processes of the 1980s. But you do not see this information ANYWHERE except at the very end because Amazon has loaded up all these ancient and out of date reviews of OTHER PRODUCTS---not the one listed and shown in the picture. It is terrible confusing. Luckily, I did order a copy of the Legend version with color and B&W and was thrilled, but you might never figure it out based on the utterly confusing mess of reviews of all sorts of different versions mushed together in the same place here.__________ I had seen this film at least twice over the years and thought it pretty good but came across this 2005 remastered version from LEGEND films. I was astonished. It is wonderfully crisp and fresh in it appearance and tripled my appreciation of it. Also, I am not one of those hidebound purists who think computer colorization is an absolute horror. Done well---and this one is done VERY well indeed--it can add a new freshness and insight to its watching. (Granted, it is not the same work of art of its original creators, but one can choose freely between the two versions, as it should be.) I found that by tweaking the color manually and altering the brightness and contrast slightly, with a hint greater saturation, one can get a superb if just slightly antiquey color. Not exactly full Technicolor (it never was--originally filmed in black and white) but a surprisingly great color experience. _________ And since this is not a dark, grim film noir, where chiarosuro of shadow and rays of light brilliantly communicates so much in mood and portent, but is a frothy comedy with light interiors, the color is perfect for lively fare like this. I can't believe people who whine about colorization. I am as big a film fan as they come, and know all about artistic integrity, but this is part of a living, usable past. (No, I don't add diet Coke to my pinot noir.) In any event, color or not, the film is a treasure and should be seen by everyone. (Perhaps first in black and white for historical accuracy, and then in color for the simple pleasure of it in this case.)"
WEAK LOOKING PRINT AN IMPROVEMENT!
Nix Pix | Windsor, Ontario, Canada | 04/22/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Considering how truly awful this movie has looked in the past, Criterion's edition of "My Man Godfrey" must be commended for its ressurection of an almost dead cinematic masterpiece. William Powell stars as Godfrey - a bum and forgotten man transformed at the insistance of a madcap heiress (Carole Lombard) into the perfect penguine - her smart-witted butler!
Previously issued, bootlegged VHS tapes, as well as late night viewings of this movie on television have been painful to watch. Criterion's restoration efforts are a subtle step in the right direction. However, I would be interested in learning how much more can be done with the original film elements.
For the record, "My Man Godfrey" still exhibits a soft picture with low contrast levels and an excessive amount of film grain. Blacks and shadow levels are very weak and there are certain scenes where the gray scale is reduced to either pure black or white visual representation, with an understandable loss of fine detail and over all image clarity. Still, the many rips, chips, tears and water damage, that one was used to seeing before, have all been tempered or all-together eliminated from this print. Many scenes on this transfer exhibit image quality that is quite satisfactory. The audio on this disc is mono but nicely restored. There are several glaring examples of pops and crackles that can be heard, as well as a persistant strident characteristic throughout. But believe me when I say that "My Man Godfrey" - save its premiere, has never looked or sounded better for the home video market.
EXTRAS: Criterion can't convince me of their hefty price tag for a petty audio commentary and inclusion of the Lux Radio Broadcast of this movie included herein. If the price of this disc dropped to around the twenty dollar level I'd be recommending it wholly for your consumption. As it stands, only a die hard fan of this legendary screwball comedy would invest in this disc - there's still much restoration work that needs to be done and the extras, quite frankly, are not worth the price!"