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SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.33:1 Standard
  • English Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
FEATURES
  • Audio commentary by film historian Bob Gilpin
  • Rare outtakes
  • The complete1938 broadcast of the Lux Radio Theater adaptation, starring Powell and Lombard
  • Production stills archive
  • Original theatrical trailer

My Man Godfrey


Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Gregory La Cava
Starring: William Powell, Carole Lombard, Alice Brady, Gail Patrick, Eugene Pallette, Alan Mowbray, Jean Dixon, Mischa Auer
1936 | 93 Minutes | Licensor: Universal Studios Home Entertainment

Release Information
DVD | MSRP: $39.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #114 | Out of print
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: July 31, 2001
Review Date: September 27, 2018

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SYNOPSIS

The definitive screwball comedy, My Man Godfrey follows the madcap antics of a wealthy and eccentric family when they hire a down-and-out "forgotten man" as their butler. My Man Godfrey features brilliant performances by Carole Lombard and William Powell, and was the first film to receive Academy Award&tm; nominations in all four acting categories.

Forum members rate this film 8.9/10

 

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PICTURE

Criterionís original DVD edition for Gregory La Cavaís My Man Godfrey presents the film in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on a dual-layer disc. Because of the ratio it has not been enhanced for widescreen televisions. The master comes from a high-definition scan of the 35mm duplicate negative.

This is another case where an old Criterion DVD (this one released in 2001) holding up somewhat well. The digital presentation itself isnít half bad, looking fine enough when upscaled. Grain is present and it does look blocky and digital because of the limitations of the format, but details are still fine and the image overall is pleasant enough.

Most of the issues have to do with the source. Damage is still pretty heavy, with fading and scratches on the sides, big bits of dirt, and some stains. I assume some work has been done because the damage that remains, in the end, isnít as bad as I would have assumed.

The new Blu-ray is the better option to go with: though the image isnít that much sharper in the end it at least has a less digital look and the restoration has cleaned up the picture quite a bit more.

6/10

All DVD screen captures are presented in their original size from the source disc. Images have been compressed slightly to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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AUDIO

Presented in 1.0 Dolby Digital mono, the filmís soundtrack has some noticeable background noise and damage, but dialogue is audible and clear.

5/10

SUPPLEMENTS

Criterion offers a rather decent if modest special edition for the film, starting off with an exclusive commentary by Bob Gilpin, which was oddly not carried over to the new Blu-ray edition. Iím not sure why it wasnít carried over because I thought it was actually a decent track, despite it being obvious Gilpin may be just simply reading from notes. In it he offers a history of screw ball comedies, how My Man Godfrey fits into the genre, the conventions it breaks, and looks at the social commentary found within the film. I canít say it is an earth shattering track by any means but I found it entertaining and informative and itís a shame Criterion doesnít carry it over to their new edition.

A 1938 Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of the film comes up next, featuring most of the cast from the film. It runs an hour and as far as radio adaptations go itís not bad, though is more dependent on dialogue than visual gags obviously. It runs an hour.

There also a collection of outtakes. Material like this from the time is always a treat and this one is rather fun as you get to see cast members curse when something doesnít go exactly the way it should. 4-minutesí worth of archival newsreel footage is also here, offering a look at both the homeless and the wealthy at the time. The disc then closes with a theatrical trailer and then a stills gallery offering a collection of 30 or so cast and crew photos. There is then an insert featuring a short essay on the film by Diane Jacobs.

Itís not a stacked edition but it may be worth picking up or holding on to if you have or plan on getting the Blu-ray edition just for the commentary track, which I rather enjoyed.

6/10

CLOSING

A decent if unspectacular DVD edition. Its presentation is fine for the format but the Blu-ray still betters it. It may be worth picking up cheap, though, if youíre interested in the commentary track that wasnít carried over to the Blu-ray.


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