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'Godfrey' turns 83



Yesterday marked the 83rd anniversary of the release of one of Carole Lombard's most iconic films, "My Man Godfrey." Universal -- under new ownership -- pulled out all the stops for its world premiere, at the Pantages in Hollywood:



This ad ran in the Los Angeles Times of Sept. 1, 1936, although fine print indicates the premiere sold out days before...although the Pantages and a downtown theater would be showing it "at popular prices." Outlying areas would have to wait.



Over its 83 years, "Godfrey" has inspired plenty of affection as arguably the greatest screwball comedy ever made, and certainly the one with the most thoughtful message. It's no wonder its view of income inequality has resonated with the Occupy crowd.

Retromoviebuff.com examined the movie in 2016 (http://www.retromoviebuff.com/biography-hit-notes-man-godfrey-1936/), while Facebook friend and fashion maven Kimberly Truhler did a long entry on the film and its fashion (with plenty of pictures!) at http://www.glamamor.com/2012/03/cinema-style-file-art-deco-of-comedy-in.html. (Did you know that while Travis Banton designed Lombard's outfits, his assistant and later successor Edith Head did likewise for Carole's on-screen "sister," Gail Patrick?)



Another view of the film is at http://theretroset.com/my-man-godfrey-the-unforgotten-man/, which cites Godfrey's speech to the scavenger hunt set at the fancy (and fictional) Waldorf-Ritz. Powell is urbane as always (even in hobo costume), but through words, he figuratively gives the crowd the finger:

"My purpose in coming here tonight was twofold. First, I wanted to aid this young lady [Lombard's Irene Bullock]. Second, I was interested to see how a pack of empty-headed nitwits conducted themselves. My curiosity has been satisfied. I assure you, it will be a pleasure to return to a society of really important people."

That probably drew applause from Depression-era audiences; at many revival houses, it still does today. Happy anniversary to a film that never gets old.

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