The Best Old Movies On a Big Screen This Week: February 11-17

02/11/2015 9:30 AM |

Powell-Lombard-My-Man-Godfrey

My Man Godfrey (1936)
Directed by Gregory La Cava
As daffy Park Avenue princess Irene Bullock, Carole Lombard sometimes veers from comically disarming child-woman to annoying brat, but her character’s wide-open innocence is the perfect foil for the guarded grace of William Powell’s Godfrey in this shimmery, silver-and-black Deco dream. Characters are deftly revealed or reformed as Godfrey leaves a camp for homeless men to be the butler—and the voice of reason—for Irene’s pampered, “nutty” family. Helped by a stellar supporting cast (this film was the first to get Oscar nominations in all four acting categories), La Cava, who started his carer in animation, maintains an atmosphere of controlled chaos, whether he’s packing the frame with a roiling mass of bad behavior or homing in on Godfrey and Irene as they play out their improbable, inevitable courtship. Elise Nakhnikian (Feb 13-16, 11am at IFC Center’s “Screwball Romance”)