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Film: My Man Godfrey
The rich girl Irene with her, butler

My Man Godfrey is a classic 1936 screwball comedy starring William Powell and Carole Lombard. The time is The Great Depression, and a number of men down on their luck are living in the city dump. By chance, a party of rich people, including Irene Bullock, show up to claim one of the "forgotten men" to win a scavenger hunt. She chooses Godfrey and wins the hunt, and afterward offers him a job as the family butler. Hilarity Ensues as he is confronted with a mad household of spoiled brats and Cloud Cuckoolanders. While Irene falls madly in love with Godfrey, the feeling is not mutual (at first).


  • Chick Magnet: Without really trying, Godfrey gets both Bullock daughters and the maid to fall in love with him.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Irene and Mrs. Bullock.
    Irene: (looks out the window of Godfrey's club) Oh, it's a lovely view - the view of the bridge. Is it always there?
  • Credits-Brand Products: The opening credits are on neon signs.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: At the end of the film, Godrey tells a humbled Cornelia that she ought to put her high spirits to better use.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Any of the help who survives more than a day in the Bullock house. Molly, the maid, is very deadpan; Godfrey is sharper-tongued, but blunted by the adoring straight woman that is Irene.
  • Dysfunctional Family: Where to begin?
    "Take a look at the dizzy old gal with the goat."
    "I've had to look at her for 20 years - that's MRS. Bullock!"
    "I'm terribly sorry!"
    "How do you think I feel?"
  • Hangover Sensitivity: Mrs. Bullock usually has one in the morning. She sees "pixies".
  • Have a Gay Old Time: Mrs. Bullock notes that Cornelia shattered a bunch of windows downtown because she was "very gay" last night.
    • Mr. Bullock asks Godfrey if he's noticed anything "queer" about him lately.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Cornelia at the end of the film.
  • Hideous Hangover Cure: "Pixie Remover," namely tomato juice and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Hidden Depths: Godfrey, who is more business savvy than he appears.
  • Idle Rich: All of the Bullocks except Mr. Bullock. The satirical bite of these Idle Rich going to a dump to find the "forgotten man" was strong in the Great Depression, when there were a lot of forgotten men.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: During a typical evening at home, Mr. Bullock takes a whole tray of martinis & asks Godfrey to repeat the order in 30 minutes.
  • The Jeeves: Godfrey, except for the pardonable sin of being American.
  • Looped Lyrics: Carlo singing "Ochi Tchorniye," but none of the other lyrics, so it's close to a Single Stanza Song. Bonus points to Mrs. Bullock for not knowing the name of the song.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Irene is one of the first in film history, possibly the Trope Maker.
  • Only Sane Man: Mr. Bullock and Godfrey.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Godfrey mercilessly dissects Cornelia's character, telling her she is an overindulged Park Avenue brat. She is furious but also ashamed.
  • Rich Bitch: Cornelia. She, like everybody else in the household, is improved by Godfrey.
  • Scavenger Hunt: This is how the Bullocks first meet Godfrey. (Scavenger hunts first became popular in the 1930s).
  • Screwball Comedy
  • Secretly Wealthy: Godfrey Smith (aka Godfrey Park of the Boston Parks).
  • Servile Snarker: the maid Molly, especially to the cops.
  • Sexy Soaked Shirt: Godfrey figures out that Irene is faking a fainting spell, so he puts her in a shower and turns the water on. The results are pretty fanservice-y. This also causes Irene to realize that Godfrey loves her.
  • Spoiled Sweet: Irene. While ditzy, she still is kind to Godfrey, which is why he agrees to go with her for the scavenger hunt, as opposed to her older Rich Bitch sister.

My Fair LadyRoger Ebert Great Movies ListMy Neighbor Totoro
Mr. Deeds Goes to TownScrewball ComedyNothing Sacred
My Dinner With AndreCreator/The Criterion CollectionMy Own Private Idaho
Mr. Deeds Goes to TownFilms of the 1930sThe Petrified Forest
The Burns And Allen ShowNational Film RegistryGunga Din
MunichCreator/UniversalMystery Science Theater 3000

alternative title(s): My Man Godfrey
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