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Funny movie quotes from My Man Godfrey

Funny movie quotes from My Man Godfrey (1936) starring William Powell and Carole Lombard

One of the great screwball comedies from the 1930’s, My Man Godfrey is about an idle rich girl (Carole Lombard) who wins a scavenger hunt with a homeless man (William Powell) who she later takes her dysfunctional home to be their new butler — and changes everyone’s life for the better.

Alexander Bullock (Eugene Pallette): We’ve got to come to an understanding right now: either Carlo is or I am.
Angelica Bullock (Alice Brady): Am what?
Alexander Bullock (Eugene Pallette): Well, one of us has got to and that’s all there is to it.

Blake: Take a look at the dizzy old gal with the goat.
Alexander Bullock (Eugene Pallette): I’ve had to look at her for 20 years – that’€™s MRS. Bullock!
Blake: I’€™m terribly sorry!
Alexander Bullock (Eugene Pallette): How do you think I feel?

Godfrey (William Powell): Do you think you could follow an intelligent conversation for a minute?
Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard): I’ll try.

Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard): 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.

Alexander Bullock (Eugene Pallette): All you need to start an asylum is an empty room and the right kind of people.

Master of Ceremonies: Are you wanted by the police?
Godfrey (William Powell): That’s just the trouble. Nobody wants me.

Godfrey (William Powell): May I be frank?
Molly (Jean Dixon): Is that your name?
Godfrey (William Powell): No, my name is Godfrey.
Molly (Jean Dixon): All right, be frank.

Godfrey (William Powell): Why can’t you let me alone?
Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard): Because you’re my responsibility and someone has to take care of you.
Godfrey (William Powell): I can take care of myself.
Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard): You can’t look me in the eye and say that. You love me and you know it. You know, there’s no sense in struggling against a thing when it’s got you. It’s got you and that’s all there is to it – it’s got you!

Angelica Bullock (Alice Brady): If you’re going to be rude to my daughter, you might as well at least take your hat off!

[at the city dump]
Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard): Could you tell me why you live in a place like this when there’s so many other nice places?
Godfrey (William Powell): You really want to know?
Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard): Oh, I’m very curious.
Godfrey (William Powell): It’s because my real estate agent felt that the altitude would be very good for my asthma.

Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard): Can you butle?
Godfrey (William Powell): Butle?
Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard): Yes, we’re fresh out of butlers. The one we had left this morning.

Godfrey (William Powell): The only difference between a derelict and a man is a job.

Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard): [about Godfrey] He’s my protege.

Godfrey (William Powell): Do you mind telling me just what a scavenger hunt is?
Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard): Well, a scavenger hunt is exactly like a treasure hunt, except in a treasure hunt you try to find something you want, and in a scavenger hunt you try to find something that nobody wants.
Godfrey (William Powell): Hmm, like a forgotten man?
Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard): That’s right, and the one who wins gets a prize, only there really isn’t a prize. It’s just the honor of winning, because all the money goes to charity, that is, if there is any money left over, but there never is.
Godfrey (William Powell): Well, that clears the whole matter up beautifully.

Godfrey (William Powell): Does the butler have quarters here in the house, or is that necessary?
Molly (Jean Dixon): Oh, you won’t need any quarters. Just hang your hat near the door so you can get it quickly on the way out.

Molly (Jean Dixon): Mr. Bullock, there’s a hansom cab driver waiting to see you in the kitchen.
Alexander Bullock (Eugene Pallette): What’s he want?
Molly (Jean Dixon): He wants $50 and his horse.
Alexander Bullock (Eugene Pallette): What horse?
Molly (Jean Dixon): The one Miss Irene rode up the front steps last night.
Alexander Bullock (Eugene Pallette): Where is his horse? I haven’t got it!
Molly (Jean Dixon): It’s in the library, where Miss Irene left it.

Alexander Bullock (Eugene Pallette): I’ve just been going over last month’s bills, and I find that you people have confused me with the Treasury Department.
Cornelia Bullock (Gail Patrick): Oh, don’t start that again, Dad.
Alexander Bullock (Eugene Pallette): I don’t mind giving the government 60% of what I make. But I can’t do it when my family spends 50%!
Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard): Well, why should the government get more money than your own family?

Cornelia Bullock (Gail Patrick): Will you do me a big favor?
Faithful George (Robert Light): Who do you want killed?
Cornelia Bullock (Gail Patrick): I’ll do my own killing.

Angelica Bullock (Alice Brady): What happened, what did you say to Carlo?
Alexander Bullock (Eugene Pallette): I said goodbye.
Angelica Bullock (Alice Brady): Did he go?
Alexander Bullock (Eugene Pallette): Yes he left very hurriedly through the side window

Angelica Bullock (Alice Brady): You mustn’t come between Irene and Godfrey. He’s the first thing she’s shown any affection for since her Pomeranian died last summer.

Godfrey (William Powell): These flowers just came for you, miss. Where shall I put them?
Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard): What difference does it make where one puts flowers when one’s heart is breaking?
Godfrey (William Powell): Yes, miss. Shall I put them on the piano?

Godfrey (William Powell): Hasn’t anyone ever told you about certain proprieties?
Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard): You use such lovely big words. I like big words. What does it mean?
Godfrey (William Powell): Well, I’ll try to simplify it. Hasn’t your mother or anyone ever explained to you that some things are proper and some things are not?
Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard): No she hasn’t. She rambles on quite a bit, but then she never has anything to say.

Angelica Bullock (Alice Brady): My ancestors came over on the boat. Oh, not the Mayflower, but the boat after that. What did your ancestors come over on, Godfrey?
Godfrey (William Powell): As far as I know, they’ve always been here.
Angelica Bullock (Alice Brady): They weren’t Indians, I hope.
Godfrey (William Powell): One can never be sure of one’s ancestors.
Angelica Bullock (Alice Brady): You know, you have rather high cheek bones …

Angelica Bullock (Alice Brady): Oh, Alexander, you missed all the excitement.
Alexander Bullock (Eugene Pallette): What’s going on?
Angelica Bullock (Alice Brady): Oh, let me see. I knew what it was I wanted to say, but somehow it slipped my mind.
Alexander Bullock (Eugene Pallette): What’s the matter with Irene?
Angelica Bullock (Alice Brady): Oh, yes, that’s it. Irene’s got herself engaged!
Alexander Bullock (Eugene Pallette): To whom?
Angelica Bullock (Alice Brady): Oh, I don’t know, Van something-or-other. I think he’s the boy with his arm around that girl in pink. He’s got lots of money.
Alexander Bullock (Eugene Pallette): Well, he’ll need it.

Detective: [notices Carlo by the french doors] Who’s that?
Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard): It’s mother’s protege.
Detective: No wisecracks. Is that your son?
Alexander Bullock (Eugene Pallette): That? Say, listen. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life, but I’ll be hanged if I’ll plead guilty to that!

Detective: Just a minute, sister!
Molly (Jean Dixon): If I thought that were true, I’d disown my parents.
Detective: [chuckles] So you got a passion for jewelry, huh?
Molly (Jean Dixon): Yes … I got a passion for socking cops.
Detective: Where are they?
Molly (Jean Dixon): Most of them are in cemeteries.

Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard): I went to Venice, and one night I went for a ride in one of those rowboats that the man pushes with a stick. Not a matador. That was in Spain. But something like a matador.
Godfrey (William Powell): Do you, by any chance, mean a gondolier?
Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard): That was the name of the boat!

Godfrey (William Powell): That’s most of your stock. I knew it had been dumped on the market, so I sold short.
Angelica Bullock (Alice Brady): I don’t understand. You sold short. You mean gentlemen’s underwear?

Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard): Life is but an empty bubble.

[Irene poses dramatically]
Cornelia Bullock (Gail Patrick): Oh, I remember that pose so well. I learned it in Dramatics School. It’s Number 8 isn’t it?
Faithful George (Robert Light): Yep, that’s Number 8 all right.
Cornelia Bullock (Gail Patrick): Am I spoiling your act, dear?
Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard): [under her breath to Cornelia] I’ll spoil something of yours someday and it won’t be your act!

Alexander Bullock (Eugene Pallette): Life in this family is one subpoena after another.

Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard): Godfrey loves me! He put me in the shower!

Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard): Godfrey’s gonna be our butler.
Angelica Bullock (Alice Brady): He’s gonna be who’s butler?
Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard): He’s gonna work for us.
Angelica Bullock (Alice Brady): Oh, that’s ridiculous. You don’t know anything about him. He hasn’t any recommendations …
Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard): Well, the last one had recommendations and stole all the silver.
Angelica Bullock (Alice Brady): Well, that was merely a coincidence.
Godfrey (William Powell): People who take in stray cats say they make the best pets, madam.
Angelica Bullock (Alice Brady): I don’t see what cats have got to do with butlers.

Cornelia Bullock (Gail Patrick): You can’t go on like this forever. You really like me and you’re afraid to admit it, aren’t you?
Godfrey (William Powell): You want me to tell you what I REALLY think of you?
Cornelia Bullock (Gail Patrick): Please do.
Godfrey (William Powell): As Smith or as a butler?
Cornelia Bullock (Gail Patrick): Choose your own weapon.
Godfrey (William Powell): You won’t hold it against me?
Cornelia Bullock (Gail Patrick): It’s your day off.
Godfrey (William Powell): Very well. You belong to that unfortunate category that I would call the ‘Park Avenue brat’. A spoiled child who’s grown up in ease and luxury … who’s always had her own way … and who’s misdirected energies are so childish that they hardly deserve the comment, even of a butler on his off Thursday.
Cornelia Bullock (Gail Patrick): [hurt and angry] Thank you for a very lovely portrait.

[Molly – the maid – brings drinks in to the living room where the police are questioning the family about the pearls]
Detective: Who are you?
Molly (Jean Dixon): Guess.

[last lines]
[Irene is getting ready to marry a surprised Godfrey]
Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard): Stand still, Godfrey. It’ll all be over in a minute.

Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard): I’m terribly grateful. This is the first time I’ve ever beaten Cornelia at anything and you helped me do it.
Godfrey (William Powell): Well, that makes me a sort of Cornelia beater doesn’t it?

Godfrey (William Powell): Opportunity is just around the corner.
Mike Flaherty: Yeah, it’s been there a long time. I wish I knew which corner.

Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard): [visiting Godfrey’s restaurant built on top of the old dump] Oh my, how you’ve fixed this place up, Godfrey! It’s much nicer than when I was here before!
Godfrey (William Powell): Oh, you’ve noticed that, huh?
Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard): Are the forgotten men having a party?
Godfrey (William Powell): It’s their annual reunion.
Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard): I saw the mayor out there. Is he one of them, too?
Godfrey (William Powell): He’s the guest of honor.
Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard): Oh, it’s a lovely view – the view of the bridge. Is it always there?
Godfrey (William Powell): Most always.
Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard): Oh, you have a kitchen! I’m gonna like this place very much.

[Repeated line, whenever Carlo plays the piano and sings]
Carlo (Mischa Auer): Ochi Chornya… Ochi Chornya… Ochi Chornya!

Carlo (Mischa Auer): Oh! Money, money, money! The Frankenstein monster that destroys souls!

Cornelia Bullock (Gail Patrick): So Little Red Riding Hood didn’t have enough feminine charm to trap a wolf her own age, so she falls in love with a butler and lives happily ever after on an ash pile. If you know what I mean.
Irene Bullock (Carole Lombard): I know what you mean, if you know what *I* mean.
Carlo (Mischa Auer): [entering the room] May I come in?
Cornelia Bullock (Gail Patrick): You’re in, aren’t you?
Carlo (Mischa Auer): Very interesting book. The Greeks of the Middle Ages.
Cornelia Bullock (Gail Patrick): Oh, Irene would like that. You love the middle ages, don’t you, dear?

Alexander Bullock (Eugene Pallette): [to Carlo] Why don’t you stop imitating a gorilla and start imitating a man?

2 thoughts on “Funny movie quotes from My Man Godfrey
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