Classic Films Friday at Kramer Hall
On June 3, Stockton University’s SCOSA program held their final Classic Films Friday until the fall. The Classic Films Friday events were held every month at Stockton’s Kramer Hall on Front Street, showcasing classic films for seniors. A discussion followed each showing.
The classic film for the month of June was My Man Godfrey which debuted in 1936 originally. Featuring talents such as William Powell, Carole Lombard, Gail Patrick and Alice Brady, the film was a critical success when it first released. The film went on to be nominated for six Academy Awards at the Oscars, however, failed to win any.
The film follows Godfrey Smith, a homeless man who is unemployed during the Great Depression. Godfrey lives at a dump in New York City with other homeless men, and is surprised when a spoiled woman named Cornelia Bullock offers him $5 for the role of her “forgotten man” for a scavenger hunt. Godfrey refuses, which in turn causes Cornelia to flee and fall into a pile of ashes. Cornelia’s sister Irene finds the situation amusing, and engages in a conversation with Godfrey. Irene in turn brings Godfrey to the scavenger hunt, and wins.
Godfrey, the “forgotten man,” was one of the items on the scavenger hunt, and he is insulted. He leaves the gathering, and Irene chases after him, saying she was sorry for what she did. Irene then offers Godfrey the position of her protégé, and hires him as the new family butler.
Godfrey aims to be the best butler the family has seen, and has to deal with unusual antics created by the family.
In time, it is revealed to the audience that Godfrey is none other than Godfrey Parke, hailing from the elite “Parkes of Boston.” Godfrey’s old friend Tommy Gray is the one to reveal this to the audience, and Godfrey explains how a broken love affair left him broke and suicidal. Godfrey credits the other homeless men living in the dump as his saviors as they helped lift his spirits.
The two girls of the family each have their own intentions with Godfrey; Cornelia wants to get Godfrey fired, and Irene wants to marry the man. Both use outrageous methods to find success in their intentions, however, Godfrey soon resigns as the butler of the family as he could not stand them anymore. Around the same time, Mr. Bullock, the girls’ father, announces to the family that they are broke. With the family business failing, and Mr. Bullock using stockholder’s money to recoup the loss, he was positive he was going to prison on embezzlement charges.
Godfrey then tells Mr. Bullock that he had used some of his own money to buy up stock that Mr. Bullock had sold. He then returns the stock, saving the family, with Godfrey explaining that the family had once helped him and that he wanted to return the favor.
Cornelia is empathetic towards Godfrey, and apologizes for her behavior. Soon after Godfrey says goodbye to the family, and uses the remaining funds he has to become business partners with his friend Tommy. The dump that Godfrey once lived at was converted into a high-class nightclub called “The Dump,” with opportunities for homeless men to get jobs at the club.
Irene follows Godfrey, and promptly marries him on site at The Dump. Godfrey is unsure of the proposal at first, but soon gives in to the marriage. The guest of honor at the club, the mayor, performs a civil wedding for the couple and the movie ends.
After the movie had finished, Nick Zebrowski, the Marketing, Events and Student Services Specialist at Stockton University’s Kramer Hall, asked the guests in person and on Zoom what they had thought of the movie. Guests then explained what they had thought of the film, and what they liked and disliked. The main takeaway from the film was that a job can give a purpose to life, and without one people become unmotivated or spoiled.
Zebrowski then emphasized to the group the fact that this would be the last Classic Films Friday until further notice.
“This has been great. We’ve just been limited on staffing so it is challenging. I’m hoping to put something together to resume again in September,” Zebrowski said of the program.
In the meantime, Zebrowski invited guests to come and visit the art offerings at Kramer Hall.
Learn more about the offerings at Kramer Hall at stockton.edu/kramer.