My Man Godfrey

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Carole Lombard as Irene Bullock and William Powell as Godfrey.
William Powell, Carole Lombard & Jean Dixon

My Man Godfrey is a 1936 film about a socialite who hires a derelict to be her family's butler, only to fall in love with him, much to his dismay.

Directed by Gregory La Cava. Written by Morrie Ryskind, Eric Hatch, and Gregory La Cava (uncredited), based on Hatch's short novel 1101 Park Avenue.

Godfrey[edit]

  • My purpose in coming here tonight was two-fold: firstly, I wanted to aid this young lady. Secondly, I was curious to see how a bunch of empty-headed nitwits conducted themselves. My curiosity is satisfied. I assure you it'll be a pleasure to go back to a society of really important people.
  • People who take in stray cats say they make the best pets, Madame.
  • [to Cornelia] You belong to that unfortunate category that I would call the Park Avenue brat. A spoiled child who has grown up in ease and luxury and who has always had her own way and whose misdirected energies are so childish that they hardly deserve the comment even of a butler on the off-Thursday.
  • There comes a turning point in every man's life, a time when he needs help. It happened to me also. Now this family helped me. I hope I repaid my debt. And I may add, some of the money went into a project of my own. I hope you won't mind sir...You see, with the aid of Tommy Gray, I was able to transmute a certain trinket into gold, then into stock, and then into pearls again....I've been repaid in many ways. I learned patience from Mr. Bullock. I found Mrs. Bullock at all times, shall we say, amusing....[To Cornelia] You taught me the fallacy of false pride. You taught me humility....Miss Cornelia, there have been other spoiled children in the world. I happen to be one of them myself. You're a high-spirited girl. I can only hope that you use those high spirits in a more constructive way. And so, good-day.

Irene Bullock[edit]

  • [at her wedding to Godfrey] Stand still, Godfrey, it'll all be over in a minute.

Other[edit]

  • Alexander Bullock: Life in this family is one subpoena after another.
  • Carlo: Oh, Money, money, money! The Frankenstein Monster that destroys souls.

Dialogue[edit]

Godfrey: Mike, I wouldn't worry. Prosperity's just around the corner.
Mike: Yeah. It's been there a long time. I wish I knew which corner. Well Duke, I'm gonna turn in. Bon soir.

Cornelia: How'd you like to make five dollars?...
Godfrey: Well, I don't mean to seem inquisitive, but what would I have to do for it?
Cornelia: All you have to do is go to the Waldorf Ritz Hotel with me and I'll show you to a few people and then I'll send you right back....Oh, if you must know, it's a game. You've probably heard about it - a scavenger hunt. If I find a forgotten man first, I win. Is that clear?
Godfrey: Yes, quite clear. Shall I wear my tails or come just as I am?

Godfrey: Who are you?
Irene: I'm Irene. That was my sister Cornelia you pushed in the ash pile.
Godfrey: How'd you like to have me push Cornelia's sister into an ashpile?
Irene: Oh, I don't think I'd like that.
Godfrey: Then you'd better get out of here.
Irene: You bet.
Godfrey: Wait a minute. Sit down.
Irene: I'm sitting.
Another bum: What's up Duke? Need some help?
Godfrey: No thanks boys. I've got everything under control. [To Irene] Are you a member of this hunting party?
Irene: I was, but I'm not now. Are they all forgotten men too?
Godfrey: Yes, I guess they are maybe. Why?
Irene: It's the funniest thing. I couldn't help but laugh. I've wanted to do that ever since I was six years old...Cornelia thought she was going to win, and you pushed her in a pile of ashes. Ha! Ha! Ha!
Godfrey: Do you think you could follow an intelligent conversation for just a moment?
Irene: I'll try.
Godfrey: That's fine. Do you mind telling me just what a scavenger hunt is?
Irene: Well, a scavenger hunt is exactly like a treasure hunt, except in a treasure hunt you try to find something you want and in a scavenger hunt, you try to find something that nobody wants.
Godfrey: Hmmm, like a forgotten man?
Irene: That's right, and the one that wins gets a prize. Only there really isn't a prize. It's just the honor of winning, because all the money goes to charity, that is, if there's any money left over, but then there never is. You know I've decided I don't want to play any more games with human beings as objects. It's kind of sordid when you think of it, I mean, when you think it over.

Irene: Could you tell me why you live in a place like this when there are so many other nice places?
Godfrey: You really want to know?
Irene: Well, I'm very curious.
Godfrey: It was because my real estate agent felt that the altitude would be very good for my asthma.
Irene: My uncle has asthma.
Godfrey: No! Well, now there's a coincidence.

Blake: This place slightly resembles an insane asylum.
Alexander: Well, all you need to start an asylum is an empty room and the right kind of people.

Molly: [about the steady flow of new butlers] There's one every day at this hour. They're dropping in and out all the time.
Godfrey: Why is that?
Molly: Some get fired, some quit.
Godfrey: Is the family that exacting?
Molly: No, they're that nutty.

Godfrey: That little fellow with the bundle of wood under his arm was Balinger of the Second National. When his bank failed, he gave up everything he had so that his depositors wouldn't suffer...You see, Tommy, there are two kinds of people. Those who fight the idea of being pushed into the river and the other kind.
Tommy: Well, after all, things have always been this way for some people. These men are not your responsibility.
Godfrey: There are different ways of having fun.
Tommy: You have a peculiar sense of humor.
Godfrey: Over here, we have some very fashionable apartment houses. Over there is a very swanky nightclub. While down here, men starve for want of a job. How does that strike your sense of humor?
Tommy: What's all this leading to?
Godfrey: Tommy, there's a very peculiar mental process called thinking. You wouldn't know much about that. But when I was living here, I did a lot of it. One thing I discovered was that the only difference between a derelict and a man is a job.

Irene: Every place I went, everybody was Godfrey...when I get in a cab, the driver is Godfrey and I'd say, this is his chariot and he's taking me up to his clouds to his castle on the mountains.
Godfrey: ...I've been doing some things also. I've been trying to do things that I thought would make you proud of me....You helped me to find myself and I'm very grateful.
Irene: You'd make a wonderful husband.
Godfrey: Oh, I'm afraid not. You see, I know how you feel about things...Well, you're grateful to me because I helped you to beat Cornelia and I'm grateful to you because you helped me to beat life, but that doesn't mean that we have to fall in love.
Irene: If you don't want to, but I'd make a wonderful wife.
Godfrey: Not for me, I'm afraid. You see, I like you very much. I had a very bitter experience. But I won't bore you with that...You and I are friends and I feel a certain responsibility to you. And that's why I wanted to tell you first.
Irene: [expectantly] Tell me what?
Godfrey: Well, I thought it was about time that I was moving on.
[She turns her back to him, crying]
Irene: I won't cry, I promise.
Godfrey: After all, I'm your protégé. You want me to improve myself, don't you?..You don't want me to go on just being a butler all my life, do you?

Irene: You're my responsibility and someone has to take care of you.
Godfrey: I can take care of myself.
Irene: You can't look me in the eye and say that. You love me and you know it. You know, there's no sense in struggling against a thing when it's got you. It's got you and that's all there is to it. It's got you!
[To his surprise, baskets of wood and groceries of food are delivered]
Irene: It should last us for a week, anyway.
Godfrey: It's a wonder you didn't have the foresight to bring a minister and a license.
Irene: It's funny. I never thought of that.

Cast[edit]

External links[edit]

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