In many ways, Merrily We Live (1938) is the neglected, younger brother of My Man Godfrey (1936). See if you can spot the similarities:
The Kilbournes, in particular Mrs Kilbourne (Billie Burke in her only Oscar-nominated performance), have a habit of hiring ‘tramps’ as servants, much to the annoyance of Mr Kilbourne (Clarence Kolb), their children Jerry (Constance Bennett), Marion (Bonita Granville) and Kane (Tom Brown), and Grosvenor (Alan Mowbray), the long-suffering butler who threatens to leave every day. One day, when Rawlins (Brian Aherne) arrives at their house to use their phone after his car rolls down a cliff (yes), they mistake him for a tramp and he is immediately ‘hired’ as their chauffeur.
Directed by Norman Z. McLeon, Merrily We Live is as wacky as it gets, endlessly delightful and absolutely hilarious. And, in my opinion, it deserves to be a lot more famous than it is. I suppose it has been kind of over-shadowed by My Man Godfrey, but it really shouldn’t be overlooked. In fact, a double bill with those two would be marvellous! Although it should be said that this isn’t really a remake or anything, as some people seem to think. According to IMDb, it’s actually a remake of What a Man (1930), which was based on the book The Dark Chapter by E.J. Rath and its Broadway adaptation They All Want Something by Courtenay Savage. However, comparisons to My Man Godfrey are inevitable, plot-wise and character-wise.
Like with any screwball comedy, there is as much reliance on one-liners as there is on physical comedy, and the balance between the two is wonderful. Brian Aherne is at the center of it all, and he delivers a sophisticated, understatedly funny performance. In fact, every performance in Merrily We Live is on point. Oh and did I mention the pets?? Oh my, there are so many pets in this movie. Two dogs (with the most original names ever), a bunny, two goldfish and a parrot. As a dog lover, I loved those adorable dogs! They’re everywhere! They eat with the family, they jump on the sofas and through windows and they cause as much havoc as everybody else. Ah, where would screwball comedies be without their pets?
Lately, I’ve been trying to watch movies that I haven’t watched in a long time. So, last night I saw Without Love (1945) for the first time in maybe three or four years. The reason I hadn’t watched it for such a long time is because I keep some DVDs at my mom’s house for when I’m there for the holidays, and that was one of them. But the last time I was there, I decided to bring it back with me ’cause I realized I hadn’t seen it for ages. Anyway, it’s such a lovely movie. Like with any Tracy/Hepburn movie, it’s an absolute delight to watch them two light up the screen. It’s a charming, little movie about two people who marry without being in love with each other. Or so it seems. Even though it’s not necessarily a great, brilliant movie, there are so many lovely, little scenes in it that are just wonderful. The scene when Kate talks about her late husband is one of them. It’s both heart-breaking and heart-warming. In fact, the entire scene when the two of them are talking about love and past loves and what it all means, is fantastic. Oh, and Lucille Ball is in it too. Get ready to laugh.
I can’t tell you how proud I am to share my birthday with this wonderful lady. I’d like to think that, if we had met back the day, we could have had a joint birthday party every year, like Shirley MacLaine and Barbra Streisand. Oh, what fun we would have had.
A very happy birthday to us both and thank you Betty, wherever you are.
Did you ever want to go to a country or a city because one of your favorite movies was set there? That’s happened to me quite a lot and I actually have a list.
Over the years, I’ve been to a few places on that list, like the French Riviera/Monaco, which I had wanted to go to because of To Catch a Thief (1955). And it’s as beautiful in real life as it is on the screen. I’ve also been to Venice, which was the setting for Summertime (1955). Venice is quite possibly my favorite city in the world, apart from London. It is just ridiculously gorgeous. There’s something about it that sets it apart completely from every other city in the world. When you’re there, it almost feels like you’ve gone back in time. I can’t wait to go there again.
Vienna, Austria is one of the places I want to go, because of The Third Man (1949) and the Ultravox song. Also Hartford, Connecticut, which is the birthplace of Katharine Hepburn. Oh and Miami, FL, but that’s mostly because of The Golden Girls.
I can’t believe it’s been a year since I started this blog! This has been so awesome, I can’t even tell you! I’ve been a movie lover for so long that it would only make sense that I would have a blog, but oddly enough, I never really actually thought of it until my mom suggested it to me. And I’m so glad she did! I love sharing my movie buffness with you wonderful people and your love and support has been incredible. I love writing this blog and I can’t imagine my life without it. So, I’d like to thank you all for reading my posts and commenting and sharing your thoughts and ideas with me. Means a lot and I’m always happy to see you in the notifications!
Thank you and lots of love! ❤