|'All you need to start an asylum is an empty room and the right kinda people'.
Godfrey (William Powell) is a fine fellow, and immediately likeable, with his position as a 'forgotten man' made good use of. The rich ninnies he serves are immensely patronising to him on account of his recent homelessness, but Godfrey doesn't take offence, preferring to remain perfectly gracious, coolly receiving their awkward compliments in the spirit in which they were meant. He's quietly amused by the outrageously dysfunctional family, and eventually saves them from their folly and, with a Gilbertian inevitability, turns out to be a man from their own class who had arrived at hard times almost on purpose, and is thus an appropriate suitor for the daughter (whether he wants to be her suitor or not). It's a classic American happy ending: a family difficulty in the great depression is solved by the butler investing in stocks and bonds, so capitalism saves the day. You could tell the same story today, but I'll be happy if you don't.
|Godfrey is opposed at every point by the other daughter, Cornelia, that villain.
P.S. The rule seems to be that 30s films are better if they aren't in English. Or perhaps the sample of purchasable 1930s films from abroad is smaller and weighted towards the excellent, whereas there's a great deal of 30s Americana to be had. Alternatively, crappy sound is more of a problem when you aren't reading subtitles. I think I prefer my first theory, and my suspicion that America, and its cinema, wasn't the best or the coolest until World War II, at which point the whole nation suddenly got its jiggy on.