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"My Man Godfrey" - Romantic Screwball Comedy
released on September 17, 1936
The Actors: William Powell (Godfrey Park), Carole Lombard (Irene Bullock), Alice Brady (Angelica Bullock, the mother), Gail Patrick (Cornelia Bullock), Eugene Pallette (Alexander Bullock, the father), Jean Dixon (Molly the maid), Alan Mowbray (Tommy Gray), Mischa Auer (Carlo), Pat Flaherty (Mike Flaherty), and Robert Light (Faithful George), Ernie Adams (forgotten men), Jimmy Aye (party guest), James Carlisle (socialite), Jack Chefe (headwaiter), Elaine Cochrane (socialite), Phyllis Crane (party guest), Eddie Fetherston (process server), Grace Field (socialite), James Flavin (second detective), Bess Flowers (Mrs. Merriweather), Edward Gargan (detective), Carlton Griffin (socialite), David S. Horsley (socialite), Selmer Jackson (socialite), Richard Kipling (socialite), Andrea Leeds (socialite), Ethelreda Leopold (socialite), Reginald Mason (Mayor Courtney), Philip Merrick (socialite), Bert Moorhouse (party guest playing cards), Robert Morgan (socialite), Louis Natheaux (socialite), Franklin Pangborn (Mr. Guthrie, head of the scavenger hunt), Bob Perry (doorman Bob), Katherine Perry (socialite), Albert Petit (receptionist), Jean Rogers (socialite), Ronald R. Rondell (socialite), Arthur Singley (Clarence), Larry Steers (nightclub patron), Grady Sutton (Charlie Van Rumple), Russell Wade (socialite), William Wagner (waiter), Arthur Wanzer (Arthur Valentine), Harley Wood (socialite), Jane Wyman (socialite)
Happy Birthday William Powell!
William Powell, best rememberd for his 'Thin Man' detective movies with Myrna Loy, was born on July 29, 1892 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. If I am asked for the name of my very most favorite old movie, I always respond with My Man Godfrey. Created during the height of the Great Depression and regarded as the first screwball comedy, it hits home runs on so many levels. I can watch it a couple of times a year and hear dialog and watch sight gags that I had forgotten or missed before, and enjoy it like an old friend or favorite sweater. William Powell plays the part of Godfrey Parks . . . . Of the Boston Parks . . . . A family drenched with wealth and class and dignity. Godfrey, who has never worked in his life and will never need to work, has been broken-hearted over a Boston girl and descends into a downward spiral of depression until he winds up in New York City and headed for suicide in the East River. Fortunately, when he reaches the East River he discovers that he is at the city dump, with tramps and ‘forgotten men’ living among the discarded trash of New York. Something ticks inside him and he stays with the tramps and starts creating a different view of life. He is watching and learning from people that he would never have met in his wealthy Boston neighborhood, and he is getting an education much more valuable than his Harvard education. Without his family money he is building a life and making friends that are more valuable than any of his aristocratic friends. But then his world will suddenly change again . . . . He will meet Irene, played by Carole Lombard, who will with this performance define the character of the silly blonde in a screwball comedy. The only sad part of the story is the women . . . . Godfrey seems to make every woman in the story cry before it is all over . . . . I have problems with crying women . . . Makes me want to cry with them. William Powell and Carole Lombard were married for a couple of years before this movie, and although they were divorced when they made this movie they were still good friends. Carole Lombard would later marry Clark Gable, and William Powell would get engaged to famous blonde bombshell Jean Harlow. Unfortunately Jean Harlow would suddenly pass, and Powell would soon meet another actress and quickly elope with her and spend the rest of his days with her. Powell’s wife Diana Lewis would give up acting a couple of years after getting married to William Powell and often declare that her marriage to William Powell was more important to her than acting or anything else in life. William Powell must have been quite a fellow. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
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2014 was an exciting year for me, and I want to say thank you to every visitor that enjoys these old movies as much as I do. Four years ago I found myself with the knowledge to create nice web pages, along with a stack of old public domain movies that I owned and enjoyed. I decided to share them with the world . . . I thought that the 150 or so movies that I had collected were all the public domain movies in existence, but soon discovered more, and with good research and the help of the internet I am still discovering lost classics to share. Thanks to the amazing people at the New Dream Network I am able to share more than 2,000 almost forgotten classics, with many more sitting on my shelf waiting their turn to be added to this web site.
The question that I am asked most often is whether these movies are really public domain, or am I sharing movies that are still copyrighted and owned by movie studios and independent producers. Some folk believe that I am clever enough to share movies still owned by studios and independent producers without them knowing, but that would not be 'clever' . . . . merely 'stupid.' The first month that I started this web site I uploaded the stack of movies that I had on hand that I believed were public domain. Within days, when only a handful of visitors found my site, a movie studio contacted me and let me know that a couple of their copyrighted movies were among my uploads. I quickly apologized and removed them, and I started learning how to research copyright office records instead of taking the word of movie bloggers. To guarantee that I don't make a mistake, and encourage any studio or producer to correct any mistake that I might make, I do not hide the files with cryptic file names like movie pirates do, and I do not host the movies in a small offshore nation to prevent movie studios from finding either me or the movies. Every movie is named and dated and very easy for motion picture studios to search for and find . . . . . And believe me, they are constantly watching. You may have only discovered this web site recently, but all of the movie studios watch my listings very closely, and have since the very early days. Our legal system makes it very easy for movie studio lawyers to quickly shut down an offending web site, and I am a very cautious person who wants to be around for a while, and have no interest in abusing the rights of others. I am also very easy to find . . . . I am a very public person with my face on every page of the web site, and a contact link on every page of the web site, and if you look at the 'meet Jimbo' page you can even easily discover my cell phone number by following the link to my personal pages. The movies that have been here for five years now are still here because they have no current legal owner.
In 2014 the number of friends visiting the site and enjoying the movies tripled, and I am very grateful. One day in 2014 I got an e-mail note from Sir Robert Rietty, a British actor and voice-over specialist who wanted to thank me for sharing movies featuring himself and his famous acting teacher father Victor Rietti. We became e-mail friends, and I was able to find even more of his movies that were in public domain and share them with him and you, and Sir Robert was gracious enough to share behind-the-scenes stories about some of his experiences. I have also been honored to meet and become friends with Canadian director Rex Bromfield, a longtime friend of Richard Burton. Rex shared two experiences with Burton that have never been made public before, and I shared them with you in my reviews of the 1973 Welsh productions starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, Divorce His and the sequel Divorce Hers. Thanks to several new British collector friends, I am able to share many old British films that I, and indeed most folk outside Britain have never seen or heard of. It appears that 2015 will be the year of British Classics thanks to them. I cannot describe with words how much joy I am enjoying while building this web site and sharing the movies that I love with the rest of the world. Thank you all for sharing in my journey and exploring the stories produced during the first years of motion picture history. The past four years have been an incredible journey, but I suspect that the best is yet ahead of us, so stick around and visit often . . . And don't be shy about sending me a note, I cherish every one and respond to all of them.
If you find an error or factual mistake, please use the contact page to let me know so that I can correct it for everyone else. This web site celebrates the efforts of every actor - not just the stars - because like a grand stew, each actor adds a unique flavor to the film, and without any of them the movie would not be the same. If you are one of these actors, or a friend or family member of an actor, please send me any anecdotes and stories that you know about any of them, and I will gladly add them to the site to enrich our knowledge about that actor or the movie they played in.
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