The Contagious Dynamism of Carole Lombard in My Man Godfrey

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Last January 16 marked the 75th anniversary of Carole Lombard’s passing. This luminous actress tragically lost her life at the young age of 33 in a plane crash. To honour her memory, my friends Crystal from In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood and Laura from Phyllis Loves Classic Movies are hosting the Carole Lombard: The Profane Angel Blogathon. The event started on January 16 and is coming at its end today. I still haven’t seen a bunch of Carole Lombard’s films (six, I think), but just to see one was enough for me to appreciate her. So, I obviously couldn’t miss the occasion. My choice for the blogathon is My Man Godfrey, a 1936 screwball directed by Gregory LaCava and also starring William Powell (Carole Lombard’s first husband before Clark Gable). Carole Lombard received her first and, unfortunately, only Oscar nomination for her dynamic performance in this picture. It was also nominated for Best Director (LaCava), Best Actor (Powell), Best Supporting Actor (Mischa Auer), Best Supporting Actress (Alice Brady) and Best Screenplay (Eric Hatch and Morrie Ryskind). Interestingly, My Man Godfrey was the first film to be nominated in all the four acting categories (Wikipedia). I personally think all the cast deserved a nomination!

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My Man Godfrey presents a clash of societies during the Great Depression. It all starts when Irene (Lombard) and her sister Cornelia (Gail Patrick) Bullock detrain in a dump to find a “forgotten man” for a scavenger hunt. Cornelia sees one, Godfrey (Powell) and offers him 5$ to be her “forgotten man”. Annoyed by the idea, he asks her to leave. While he advances towards her, she falls in a pile of ashes. She leaves, bitter and angry. Irene, who is a much likeable character, stays, and Godfrey suggests to be her forgotten man to beat Cornelia at the contest. After Irene’s team win thanks to Godfrey and after he meets her family, she gives him their address as they need a new butler. So, the next morning, Godfrey arrives at their place to be hired for the job. He soon realizes that the Bullock is far from being an ordinary family (except maybe for the father played by Eugene Pallette), but he turns out to have a pretty good endurance. He, however, has to face Cornelia’s shenanigans against him and soon realizes that Irene is deeply in love with him an who had decided to make him her “protégé”.

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There are so many things happening in My Man Godfrey. The moments of calm are rare, so, if you haven’t seen it, I can assure you, you won’t be bored.

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It’s not without any reason that I personally like to call Carole Lombard “the queen of comedy” and My Man Godfrey is the proof that she was. I mean, she could play drama well too, but I believe she would mostly be remembered for her perfect comic timing. She and William Powell weren’t married anymore at the time they made the movie together (they divorced in 1933), but interestingly, it’s William Powell that suggested Carole for the part. IMDB informs us that it’s because their real life relationship was similar to Irene and Godfrey’s one. Miriam Hopkins and Constance Bennett were among the choices for the part of Irene, but to Powell’s eyes, Carole was the perfect one for the part. And he was right! She’s hilarious from the beginning until the end.

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What I’ve always liked about Carole Lombard is the when you see pictures of her, “staged pictures”, she can look very serious and dramatic, but when you see My Man Godfrey or Nothing Sacred, you realize that you have been fooled and that she is, in reality, a real clown. Although, she doesn’t look like a clown, but like a very distinguished lady, who could play comedy.

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In My Man Godfrey, Carole Lombard is… motivating. Seriously, I couldn’t pick a better world. Her energy is contagious and makes you want to be like her, even if she’s a little crazy. As we would say in French “elle fait la comédie” (“she plays the comedy”) and becomes tragic to fool people around her or to show her deception about something. But, as we know, she’s kind of faking it, so it remains hilarious. Irene Bullock makes me think a little of Susan Vance (Katharine Hepburn) in Bringing Up Baby, a lady who will never be ready to give up her man hunt!

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Carole makes a good team work with her fellow actors. Her chemistry with Powell is unbelievable and that might be one of the best things about the film. Her opposition with Cornelia (Gail Patrick) is perfect. They are like real sisters if you see what I mean. 😉

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Something I also like about Carole Lombard is the fact that she has some of the best lines. I think that along with Network’s ” I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore”, “Godfrey loves me! He put me in the shower!” is my favourite movie line. It doesn’t make much sense, plus Carole’s facial expression when she says it is priceless. So, it remains a pretty hilarious moment.

Here are some other Carol Lombard’s quotes from My Man Godfrey that are quite memorable and reflects quite well the atmosphere of the film:

1- Godfrey: Do you think you could follow an intelligent conversation for a minute?

Irene: I’ll try.

2- Irene: You have a wonderful sense of humor. I wish I had a sense of humor, but I can never think of the right thing to say until everybody’s gone home.

3- Godfrey: These flowers just came for you, miss. Where shall I put them?

Irene: What difference does it make where one puts flowers when one’s heart is breaking?

Godfrey: Yes, miss. Shall I put them on the piano?

4- Irene: Life is but an empty bubble. (That’s deep haha.)

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As we were honouring Carole Lombard in this blogathon, I mostly decided to focus on her for my article, but, of course, there will be many other things to discuss. I’ll leave you with that fun movie bloopers video for your own entertainment. Enjoy! 🙂

 

A big thanks to Laura and Crystal for hosting this event! You can read the other entries by click on this picture:

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Carole Lombard left us too soon, but she’ll be in our hearts forever ❤ RIP beautiful angel.

See you!

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Seriously, isn’t that the cutest face ever?
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Top of the World: Remembering David Bowie with 15 Favourite Songs

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Already one year ago, on January 10, 2016, a musical legend, David Bowie passed away and left his fans in deep sorrow. He was an icon and a real source of inspiration. This sad event is one that we aren’t completely ready to accept and that seemed to have happened too suddenly. Unexpected deaths like this one are the most painful.

However, I’m strongly convinced that Bowie’s memory will never stop being celebrated. Today, in his honour, I’m back with a top 15 of my favourite Bowie’s songs (already another top? Yes!) Plus, two days ago it was his birthday so that makes it a double occasion. There are moments like this when I allow myself to put movies aside and focus on a different cultural subject. (Yes, David Bowie did play in some films, but that’s another story).

This list is very subjective as these are my personal favourites. I ask you to please respect my choices. If a song you like isn’t part of the top, it’s not because I don’t like it! It’s just not in my top 15.

I love Bowie, but I’m really not an expert. To tell you the sad truth, I discovered most of his songs after his death. (You know, stuff like that always happens). I think I knew 6 of them before. However, that doesn’t mean he wasn’t a favourite before his death, and I was one of those who couldn’t believe it. I’m telling you all this because this top mostly contains Bowie’s famous songs, which are the one I know the most. I’m not too familiar with his more obscure songs.

Well, enjoy the top now!

15. Changes (1971)

Seriously, how can we forget this refrain?

14. Let’s Dance (1983)

A perfect song to dance indeed.

13. Under Pressure (1982)

Davie Bowie and Freddy Mercury = priceless

12. Dancing in the Streets ( David Bowie and Mick Jagger’s version: 1985)

This song was originally written by  William Stevenson, Ivy Jo Hunter et Marvin Gaye and contains several different versions. Bowie/Jaggers’s one deserves credits for its video clip only.

11. The Man Who Sold the World (1970)

A “mysterious” song, that’s why I like it.

10. Modern Love (1983)

I know it sounds strange said like that, but I’ve always loved the musicality of this song

9. Rebel Rebel (1974)

Just for that lyric: “Hot tramp, I love you so! “

8. Suffragette City (1972)

Another unforgettable David Bowie’s song

7. Ziggy Stardust (1972)

Because I like the creativity of this song and Bowie’s very sexy voice in it.

(Seriously, his legs are amazing. And this live version is my favourite one)

6. The Jean Genie (1973)

This song has “swag”.

5. Golden Years (1975)

This proves that David was able to perform different styles of music and did them all well.

4. Starman (1972)

The first Bowie’s song I discovered. Used to be my #1 once, but it still has a special place in my heart.

3. Heroes (1977)

A powerful song and Bowie’s voice: OH MY GOD. The emotion.

2. Space Oddity (1969)

Bowie’s most iconic song. Always makes me think of my favourite Quebecker movie, C.R.A.Z.Y (Jean-Marc Vallée) in which the main character is a fan of Bowie and listens to this song in an iconic scene.

The song was originally released in 1969, but my favourite version is the 1972’s re-release, also the most well-known version.

C.R.Z.Y’s scene, in case you are curious.

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  1. China Girl (1977)

Strangely, I used not to like this song very much. But now I love it and… it’s my favourite one. Once again, David Bowie’s voice is amazing and full of emotion, and a song that mentions Marlon Brando’s name is always a winner for me. 😉

That was difficult and I’m still not a 100 % sure of my order of preference. There are some I just love equally.

Anyway, I hope you like these ones too! Please don’t hesitate to share with me what are YOUR favourite David Bowie’s songs.

I watched Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars yesterday and discovered a bunch of other amazing songs in it, but as I’ve heard most of them only once (except those in the top) and because this article was already edited I will leave it as it is now. But a big shout out to this film and its songs!

David Bowie: the man is gone, but the legend will live forever. RIP

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Remember Margaret Lockwood

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25 years ago, the incredible British actress Margaret Lockwood left this Earth to become an angel in the paradise of movie stars. For the occasion, I invite you to read the following article about the Gainsborough Pictures Queen written by author Lyndsy Spence for The History Press.

A truly great and informative piece of work, perfect to honour her memory:

Margaret Lockwood: Queen of the Silver Screen

I also invite you to visit Lyndsy’s blog dedicated to Margaret Lockwood:

Margaret Lockwood Society

And follow her Facebook page as well:

Margaret Lockwood Society (Facebook)

RIP Margaret Lockwood. True fans will never stop to honour your memory.

And see you in 2016 with more Margaret Lockwood’s articles as we will celebrate her 100th birthday!