Butlers

Open, general discussion of classic sound-era films, personalities and history.
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telical

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Butlers

PostTue Jul 03, 2018 1:23 pm

Which films had a predominant role of butlers?

I've been thinking about the use of butlers lately, thinking that perhaps this generation aren't able to continue that tradition. People are not as trustworthy nor as humble. It seems people would rather go homeless than be someone's servant for a room and board. Or, perhaps there are not such opportunities. I welcome your thoughts.
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Danny Burk

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Re: Butlers

PostTue Jul 03, 2018 2:01 pm

MY MAN GODFREY, for starters.
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Rick Lanham

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Re: Butlers

PostTue Jul 03, 2018 2:18 pm

I'll have my man get back to you.

Hey Siri, remind me to…

Rick
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Rick Lanham

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Re: Butlers

PostTue Jul 03, 2018 3:16 pm

There's Baines in The Fallen Idol.

Just posted today on YouTube is What the Butler Saw , which should have a butler in it.



Rick
Last edited by silentfilm on Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Embedded YouTube link
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R Michael Pyle

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Re: Butlers

PostTue Jul 03, 2018 3:38 pm

One of my favorites was the series of "Bulldog Drummond" films with E. E. Clive as Tenny (Tennyson) the butler. For that matter, Clive was a butler in "Man About Town" (1939), "Bachelor Mother" (1939), "It's Love I'm After" (1937), "The Dark Hour" (1936), "We're In the Money" (1935), and possibly others.

Another who played innumerable butlers was Wilson Benge. Among credits as a butler were things like "Sword of Venus" (1953), "Emergency Wedding" (1950), "The Great Moment" (1944), "Casanova In Burlesque" (1944), "Captain America" (1944), "Murder in Times Square" (1943), "The Man in the Trunk" (1942), "Moonlight Masquerade" (1942), "Miss Annie Roonie" (1942), "You're Telling Me" (1942), "The Corsican Brothers" (1941), "It Started with Eve" (1941), "An Ache in Every Stake" (1941), "The Adventures of Captain Marvel" (1941), "The Man Who Lost Himself" (1941), "The Lady Eve" (1941), "Virginia" (1941), "A Plumbing We Will Go" (1940), "Half a Sinner" (1940), "Green Hell" (1940), and I'm only back to 1940. He was in innumerable butler roles in the 30's, too, including "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" (1939). So, there were some born to play butlers. He'd even played them as far back as the early 20's in films - even in such films as "The Ten Commandments" (1923). I always enjoy watching him.
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Donald Binks

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Re: Butlers

PostTue Jul 03, 2018 6:21 pm

Carruthers was telling me yesterday when bringing me my evening cocktail, that he was in Hollywood in his salad days and basically learned his craft from watching Arthur Treacher. I thought that sounded reasonable as I started sipping.
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Butlers

PostTue Jul 03, 2018 9:34 pm

Not everyone - like Robert Greig- made a career of it
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(by the time of My Man Godfrey, Mischa came to rue the valet)
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Clem Dickey

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Re: Butlers

PostWed Jul 04, 2018 12:26 am

There's Eric Blore as Bates in Top Hat. Not a lot of screen time, but memorable.
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Re: Butlers

PostWed Jul 04, 2018 2:15 am

Allen Mowbray in Merrily We Live
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Arndt

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Re: Butlers

PostWed Jul 04, 2018 2:51 am

MALE AND FEMALE (from the play THE ADMIRABLE CRIGHTON)
"The greatest cinematic experience is the human face and it seems to me that silent films can teach us to read it anew." - Wim Wenders
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Re: Butlers

PostThu Jul 05, 2018 11:32 am

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There's none better than William Powell as "Godfrey", serving Eugene Pallette in My Man Godfrey (1936).

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Here is David Niven as Godfrey in the 1957 version.
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Re: Butlers

PostThu Jul 05, 2018 12:03 pm

I've always enjoyed George Barraud's turn as a faux butler in the Shearer version of The Last of Mrs. Cheyney. Actually, the stage veterans who populate many early talkies (as Barraud, Basil Rathbone, Maude Turner Gordon, and Herbert Bunston do here) remain a perpetual source of pleasure for me: their training, experience, and spot-on timing lend animation to films that were still finding their way (so to speak) underneath the boon microphone.
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Re: Butlers

PostThu Jul 05, 2018 2:34 pm

Just as acting wasn’t considered fit employment for a “man”- so was the job of butler portrayed in American-set nitrate social comedies. Such film valets and butlers were bulbous, effete, desiccated, or even worse, British.... and they were, of course, dependably among the best parts of the films they graced. Butlers played by star actors in feature comedies often were revealed to be men masquerading as members of the profession, or men in hiding, or fellows dead set on abandoning their butlering days before the final reel unspooled.
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Butlers and valets of a more hard-boiled sort popped up as companions, and partners, in crime and detective comedies, of which The Lady Eve may be considered a delightful wild variant.
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s.w.a.c.

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Re: Butlers

PostFri Jul 06, 2018 7:46 am

Herbert Marshall plays a harried auto executive who becomes a butler for "gourmet ex-bootlegger" Leo Carillo in order to be closer to unemployed cook Jean Arthur in the screwball comedy If Only You Could Cook (1935), which I first saw at Cinefest, but has since come out on DVD in a collection of Columbia comedies. Fun film, as I recall, with great supporting role by Lionel Stander as (I think) the chauffeur named Flash. "You put garlic in the SAUCE?"
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s.w.a.c.

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Re: Butlers

PostFri Jul 06, 2018 12:10 pm

Arndt wrote:MALE AND FEMALE (from the play THE ADMIRABLE CRIGHTON)

The 1957 version of The Admirable Crichton is on TCM on Sunday night at 10:45 p.m. ET. Directed by Lewis "Alfie" Gilbert with Kenneth More, Diane Cilento and Sally Anne Howes.
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aldiboronti

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Re: Butlers

PostFri Jul 06, 2018 12:24 pm

On a side note is there a murder movie where the butler actually did it?
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Re: Butlers

PostFri Jul 06, 2018 12:30 pm

aldiboronti wrote:On a side note is there a murder movie where the butler actually did it?



According to Cecil Adams in The Straight Dope, the Butler Did It once in one Mary Roberts Rinehart novel published in 1930.

Bob
If no one listens, then it’s just as well. At least I won’t get caught in any lies I tell.
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Ray Faiola

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Re: Butlers

PostFri Jul 06, 2018 5:22 pm

Charles Coleman, the ubiquitous one.
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Re: Butlers

PostSat Jul 07, 2018 3:58 am

" On a side note is there a murder movie where the butler actually did it?..."

Dwight Frye as Jessup in THE BLACK CAMEL (1931).
" You can't take life too seriously...you'll never get out of it alive."


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Ray Faiola

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Re: Butlers

PostMon Jul 09, 2018 9:33 am

" On a side note is there a murder movie where the butler actually did it?..."

And James Logan as Billings in THE FULLER BRUSH MAN.
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