MY MAN GODFREY
MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: * (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
The big hot button for me is Another installment in Universal’s celebration of 100 years as a movie studio is “My Man Godfrey,” getting a new DVD release. The story is a classic example of the screwball comedies of the 30s, featuring William Powell as a “forgotten man” who is brought into high society by Carol Lombard to be her new butler. However, the crazy antics of the wealthy family begins to wear thin on the situation, causing tension among everyone involved.
“My Man Godfrey” is one of those movies that more people have heard about than actually seen. There’s less of a push to see 75-year-old films nowadays, and that’s a shame because this is a seminal movie that sets the stage for decades of comedies to follow.
Produced during the Depression, “My Man Godfrey” has some rather strong points to make about the idle rich and those who have fallen on hard times. It doesn’t get preachy, nor does it get too serious. Instead, it wraps a lot of its nuance in a sweet little puppy love story that is utterly unrealistic but works in the classic Hollywood fashion.
Like any film of any era, the strength of this movie results from the performances, particularly the leads. There’s a charm to both Powell and Lombard, making the film transcend generations. It’s a cute movie that has fun with levels of wealth in society and sibling rivalry.
One of the wonderful things about the home video market is that it offers a chance to see older films that are forgotten to younger generations. This is even better than cable broadcasts because not only are there no commercials or pretentious hosts to deal with, the movies are available on demand and don’t require watching a specific channel.
I applaud Universal for releasing these older classics to reach a bigger audience along with other more famous classics (like “Jurassic Park” or the recently announced “Jaws” Blu-ray). If you can watch giant dinosaurs and a killer shark for entertainment, why not drop 90-odd minutes to enjoy the ones you haven’t seen before?
This newly released DVD celebrated Universal’s 100 years of making movies. Bonus features include two “100 Years of Universal” featurettes including “The Carl Laemmle Era” and “The Lew Wasserman Era.” the “Inspired by a true story” note that is tacked onto dozens of movies a year.