Monday, October 3, 2011
My Man Godfrey
Now that I've got my fix, I can actually write. Today I watched My Man Godfrey, directed by Gregory La Cava in 1936. I thought it sounded pretty boring - the title is pretty unexciting and bland. But it was a great little comedy! It was short and sweet, full of great little moments and witty dialogue. This seems like what people think of when they say they just like any old movies - you know, the type who stay up late watching something they never heard of on TCM? I like those people. :)
I like the summary on IMDB, it's real enigmatic and exciting: "In the depths of the Depression, a party game brings dizzy socialite Irene Bullock to the city dump where she meets Godfrey, a derelict, and ends by hiring him as family butler. He finds the Bullocks to be the epitome of idle rich, and nutty as the proverbial fruitcake. Soon, the dramatizing Irene is in love with her 'protege'...who feels strongly that a romance between servant and employer is out of place, regardless of that servant's mysterious past..." Yes! Nothing about the plot is possible, which is why it's a screwball comedy. Forget the plot. You have to just enjoy this, you know?
I really just loved the acting here. It was so much fun to watch the characters. It almost wasn't implausible because they were so great at it. I loved the interactions between Godfrey and Irene. It feels so real, and so many of their conversations are full of really funny and smart double meanings. You know, when Irene's talking about buttons but she doesn't really want to sew his buttons back on, yes? I love stuff like that. I always feel smart and smug when I watch it, for some reason. It's just so charming and quick and witty, and there isn't really anything fun like that in movies anymore. Raunch is certainly fun, and I love gross comedies and blunt characters just as much as the next person - because in real life, we are blunt. But there's something that I really love about old dialogue like this, although I can't put my finger on it right now. Maybe I feel like I'm part of an inside joke with the movie or something, if that makes any sort of sense.
Ok, derp, I keep moving away from this page to shop for cars and look up stupid stuff like how to make velvet paintings (I really want a blue velvet painting of Dennis Hopper's Frank inhaling nitrous from uh, Blue Velvet.). Back on topic, really quickly, the movie looks great. I love black and white, and it's awesome here. There is, apparently, a colorized version, which is way gross sounding to me. The contrast in this movie is so great in black and white. Ebert mentions that everything seems to be very tactile and textured. It's wonderful. And it's sort of fitting - like how I said I like the witty banter because it's different from what I'm used to seeing. I like black and white because it's different, because it makes it (for some dumb reason) easier to accept the implausible plot and the dialogue. Do you guys feel that way? Maybe I'm weird.
I just really had fun watching this movie tonight. I wasn't expecting it to be so good, and I know 100% that I never would have watched this on my own. I am not one of those people who just watches any old movie that is on (I wish I was!). My mom is one of those people, though, and I know she would love this. The movie is only an hour and a half long, and is streaming on Netflix. The weather is getting perfect for staying inside, curled up with a movie just like this one. It's perfect for my mood - funny and lighthearted enough for me to feel happy after I watch it (unlike some movies that are too happy or lighthearted which can produce the opposite result and make my cynical). So basically, if you ever are trolling around looking for something to watch, maybe check this guy out. It's good stuff.
Ebert's Great Movie Essay on My Man Godfrey
Buy it on Amazon