Tag Archives: William Powell

The Set of 400: #211 – My Favorite Gorilla Impression

Today! Because I wish I had a sense of humor, but I can never think of the right thing to say until everybody’s gone home –

My Man Godfrey (1936)

Directed by Gregory La Cava

Starring William Powell (x2), Carole Lombard (x2), Alice Brady, Eugene Pallette, Gail Patrick, Mischa Auer, Jean Dixon, Alan Mowbray, Pat Flaherty, Robert Light, Franklin Pangborn (x2), Grady Sutton, Reginald Mason, Edward Gargan

Apparently my favorite movie from 1936 (suck it, #271 Modern Times and #303 After the Thin Man!), My Man Godfrey is the much-lauded screwballiest of screwball comedies from the late ’30s. The plot is pure pre-war, Great Depression social satire, with Lombard’s socialite Irene hiring Powell’s derelict Godfrey as the family butler following a somewhat cruel rich persons’ scavenger hunt to discover “the forgotten man.” We of course discover that rich people are bonkers and those falling on hard times in the decade were regular folks deserving of a break.

And were deserving of a bath!

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The Set of 400: #303 – My Favorite Snoring Conversation

Today! Because I don’t need anything in the world, darling, but you and a toothbrush –

After the Thin Man (1936)

Directed by W.S. Van Dyke

Starring William Powell, Myrna Loy, James Stewart, Elissa Landi, Joseph Calleia, Jessie Ralph, Alan Marshal, Sam Levine, Penny Singleton, George Zucco, Teddy Hart, Allen ‘Farina’ Hoskins, William Law

The best of the Thin Man sequels, and by some estimations the top movie in the series, After the Thin Man picks up where the first film leaves off – with Nick and Nora on a train heading west, replete with their boozy banter and dog Asta in tow. Sure, their comrades from the first movie two years earlier who were also taking this train are no where to be seen, but what of it? There are new mysteries to solve immediately upon arriving home in San Francisco! Forget that Thin Man case!

For the uninitiated, the Thin Man movies follow a pretty standard formula for film mysteries of the ’30s and ’40s – central master detective, tight running time, lots of punching, one or two gunshots. What made the Thin Man movies stand out – even from the other, previous William Powell mystery series, Philo Vance – was the light comedy injected by the leads, the married “former” detective Nick Charles and his socialite wife Nora, along with their Wire Fox Terrier Asta, occasionally embroiled in his own drama, due to Mrs. Asta and a neighborhood hound, as in this film. Fun fact – Asta was portrayed by Skippy, who had a robust film career in the ’30s, appearing in the first three Thin Mans, as well as The Awful Truth, Topper Takes a Trip, Sea Racketeers, I Am the Law, and Bringing Up Baby among others before retiring in 1941. In his heyday, he was pulling down $250 a week! Great Depression my foot!

Rin Tin Tin had nothing on Skippy

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