Directed by: Gregory La Cava
Starring: William Powell, Carole Lombard, Alice Brady, Eugene Pallette, Gail Patrick, Jean Dixon, Mischa Auer
Pack Library is back in the business of presenting film series again — this month with the help of film historian Peter Loewer and a roster of classic comedies, starting with Gregory La Cava’s My Man Godfrey (1936), one of the essentials of “screwball” comedy. Perhaps it may even be the essential one. From its glossy credits (probably the most striking title design of the decade) onward, it’s a slick, rich-looking production (despite its Depression setting) set in that movie-world version of New York that everyone just wished really existed. And, of course, it’s almost entirely populated by engaging, amusing characters, ranging from the mildly eccentric to the outright nuts. What better arena in which to play out a romance between a dizzy society girl (Carole Lombard) and the “forgotten man” (William Powell) she “rescued” from a packing case in the city dump and turned into the family butler. There’s a legend that there really was no script and that the film was made up as they went along, while the shoot was more like one long party. It’s probably not true—or at least entirely true—but the movie itself has something of that feeling.
Film historian Peter Loewer and Pack Library will screen My Man Godfrey at 6 p.m on Tuesday, April 5, in the newly renovated Lord Auditorium at the library.