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directed by Gregory La Cava
USA 1936

 

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™ nominations in all four acting categories.

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William Powell and Carole Lombard star in an outrageous screwball send-up of Depression-era America. CAROLE LOMBARD (To Be or Not to Be) and WILLIAM POWELL (The Thin Man) dazzle in this definitive screwball comedy, directed by GREGORY LA CAVA (Stage Door)-a potent cocktail of romantic repartee and Depression-era social critique. Irene (Lombard), an eccentric Manhattan socialite, wins a society-ball scavenger hunt after finding one of the "items" on the list, a "lost man" (Powell), at a dump. She gives the man she believes to be a down-and-out drifter work as the family butler and soon falls head over heels in love. Her attempts to both woo Godfrey and indoctrinate him in the dysfunctional ways of the household make for an unbeatable series of madcap hijinks. La Cava's deft film was the first to garner Oscar nominations in all four acting categories and it is one of Hollywood's greatest commentaries on class and the social unrest of its time.

Posters

Theatrical Release: September 6th, 1936 - USA

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 Comparison:

Key DVD - Region 1- NTSC vs. Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Madacy - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Criterion - Region 'A' + 'B' - Blu-ray

1) Key DVD (Colorized) - Region 1- NTSC LEFT

2) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Madacy - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD

4) Criterion Collection Spine # 114 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Covers

    

Distribution

Key DVD

Region 1  - NTSC

Criterion Collection Spine # 114

Region 0  - NTSC

Madacy Entertainment

Region 0 NTSC

Criterion Collection Spine # 114

Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Runtime 1:34:06 1:33:09 1:30:03 1:33:30.605
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.53 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.38 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.42
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 39,496,228,308 bytes

Feature: 27,855,525,888 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.53 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Key DVD

Bitrate:

Criterion

 

Bitrate:

 

Madacy

 

Bitrate: Blu-ray

 

 

 

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono) English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)

English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles None English, and none None English, and none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Key DVD  / Legacy Films

Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen (Standard) - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Black & White and Color versions
• Trailer

DVD Release Date: April 19th, 2005
Keep Case

Chapters 8

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen (Standard) - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Black & White, Closed-captioned
• Commentary by film historian Bob Gilpin
• Theatrical trailer
• New digital transfer, with restored image & sound
• Rare outtakes
• Production stills archive
• The complete 1938 broadcast of the Lux Radio Theater adaptation, starring Powell and Lombard
• Full-screen format

DVD Release Date: July 31, 2001
Keep Case

Chapters 21

Release Information:
Studio: Madacy Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen (Standard) - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Black & White
• Interactive Trivia
• Movie Credits

DVD Release Date: March 9, 2000
Keep Case

Chapters 9

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 39,496,228,308 bytes

Feature: 27,855,525,888 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.53 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video


Edition Details:
 New program featuring jazz and film critic Gary Giddins (17:46)
 New interview with critic Nick Pinkerton on director Gregory La Cava (18:31)
 Outtakes (1:04)
Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of the film from 1938 (1:00:40)
 Newsreels depicting Great Depression class divides (4:28)
 Trailer (0:54)
PLUS: An essay by critic Farran Smith Nehme

 

Blu-ray Release Date: September 17th-18th, 2018
Transparent Blu-ray case

Chapters: 23

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' Blu-ray - August 2018: Criterion bring My Man Godfrey to Blu-ray. It is advertised as a "New 4K digital restoration" and is available in both the US and UK. Support of the grain and contrast may be the major attributes of the 1080P image. There are even instances of depth on this dual-layered rendering with a max'ed out bitrate. The 4K-restored visuals looks wonderful in-motion.

The audio is via a linear PCM mono transfer (24-bit). It suffers from it production roots but dialogue is all clear. The score is by Charles Previn (The Wolf Man) and, uncredited, Rudy Schrager. It sounds fine - a bit weak in the high-end, but consistent and clean - without the pops and hiss of the PD DVDs.  There are optional English subtitles and this is available on Region 'A' and Region 'B'
Blu-ray.

Criterion advance upon their 2001 DVD with new supplements starting with an 18-minute program featuring jazz and film critic Gary Giddins (author of Warning Shadows: Home Alone with Classic Cinema) discussing My Man Godfrey and the talents that made it. There is also a new, 18-minute interview with critic Nick Pinkerton on director Gregory La Cava delving into what made him a distinctive director. There are a minute's worth of 'Outtakes' and an hour-long Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of the film from 1938 as well as a trailer and some Newsreels depicting Great Depression class divides. The package has liner notes with an essay by critic Farran Smith Nehme.

Tons of fun here - one of the best, and my favorite, comedy-romances of this era. Criterion have put together the essential package and the
Blu-ray has our highest recommendation to fans who appreciate this cinema.

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ADDITION : Key DVD (April 2005) - What a pleasant surprise! Although DVDBeaver does not condone the process of colorization this new Key DVD's original black and white version (also on the disc) is only minutely behind the Criterion image. Now, of course taking into account the Criterions extras and commentary at $36 US as compared to the Key DVDs for less than $10 -one might opt for the Key DVD, especially if you are interested in the film but not a fan of the 'screwball comedies' of this era. It has no subtitles, but the colorized version is not of bad quality either folks - a curiosity to say the least. I also love the cover. Unless you are a devout fan, I might be inclined to recommend the Key DVD and use the savings to buy a lower tiered Criterion... a great film like "Le Trou", for example.

****

Not much to say here. The Criterion is sharper, shows great film grain, deep contrast, clear audio and some decent Extras. Madacy is one of the worst distribution companies; they take public domain films and throw them on DVD with very little care. This is actually one of their superior efforts showing some half-baked Extra Features... but their video is hazy, dull, zoomed in, contrast boosted and the sound crackles. The Madacy is much cheaper but at a terrible cost. What I am glad to see is that Criterion hasn't cropped this image (in comparison). Criterion all the way.

- Gary W. Tooze





DVD Menus

(
Key DVD - Region 1- NTSC LEFT vs. Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Madacy - Region 0 - PAL - RIGHT)


 

 

Criterion Collection Spine # 114 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Sample - Criterion Collection Spine # 114 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 

 

1) Key DVD (Colorized) - Region 1- NTSC TOP

2) Key DVD (black and white) - Region 1- NTSC SECOND

3) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Madacy - Region 0 - PAL - FOURTH

5) Criterion Collection Spine # 114 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM



1) Key DVD (Colorized) - Region 1- NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Madacy - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD

4) Criterion Collection Spine # 114 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Key DVD (Colorized) - Region 1- NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Madacy - Region 0 - PAL - THIRD

4) Criterion Collection Spine # 114 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Key DVD (Colorized) - Region 1- NTSC TOP

2) Key DVD (black and white) - Region 1- NTSC SECOND

3) Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Madacy - Region 0 - PAL - FOURTH

5) Criterion Collection Spine # 114 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


(Key DVD - Region 1- NTSC TOP vs. Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Madacy - Region 0 - PAL - BOTTOM)

More Blu-ray captures


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Report Card:

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras:

Blu-ray

 

Box Covers

    

Distribution

Key DVD

Region 1  - NTSC

Criterion Collection Spine # 114

Region 0  - NTSC

Madacy Entertainment

Region 0 NTSC

Criterion Collection Spine # 114

Region 'A' - Blu-ray




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gary Tooze