My Man Godfrey (1936)
Don't judge a book by its cover, except if the book in question is a spoiled, well-to-do daughter of socialites. This quintessential screwball comedy combines fast-paced dialogue with some clever twists and turns, as the contrasts between rich and poor in Depression era New York City are dissected. William Powell plays a "forgotten man" living in a dump who is invited to work as a butler for an eccentric, socially impaired socialite family. There he waits tables – and ultimately turns them. The film is amiable and righteous to a fault, and the quips don't at all feel as dated as the inevitable, bone-dry romance between real-life ex-spouses Powell and Carole Lombard. The film would have been more effective had Lombard and Alice Brady, as the mother, played their roles with a hint of realism, like the far more interesting Gail Patrick does as the mischievous sister. Nominated for six Oscars at the 9th Academy Awards in 1937, but won none.