Beloved screwball comedy Merrily We Live (1938) starring Constance Bennett and Brian Aherne makes its Blu-ray and DVD debut this August 14th.
Newly transferred and restored by ClassicFlix, this Hal Roach production received five Oscar nominations, including one for Billie Burke (Best Supporting Actress) -- the only such recognition in her career.
Topping out the superb cast is Alan Mowbray, Bonita Granville, Clarence Kolb, Patsy Kelly, Ann Dvorak, Tom Brown and Willie Best. Synopsis below.
The Kilbourne’s are a curious lot. Henry, the irascible patriarch, has his patience duly tried by his three impetuous and irreverent children: Geraldine (Jerry), Kane and Marion. Mother Emily rounds out the clan and may be the most endearingly peculiar of them all, as she doesn’t knit or collect stamps as a hobby, but instead takes in “Forgotten Men” intent on rehabilitating them.
However, after her latest protege makes off with the family silver, Emily swears off any do-gooding… that is until the vacationing Wade Rawlins shows up at her doorstep and is mistaken as a tramp. Becoming the family’s new chauffeur, Rawlins soon proves useful to the Kilbourne’s in more ways than one. He also quickly grabs the attention of nearly every female about him—especially and including Jerry’s.
Billie Burke is not only reunited in Merrily We Live with her Topper co-stars Constance Bennett (Jerry) and Alan Mowbray (Grosvenor, the Kilbourne's long-suffering butler), but her performance as the delightfully daffy Emily also garnered her the only Academy Award nomination of her career (Best Supporting Actress). Joining the Topper trio is also a sublime cast including Brian Aherne, Clarence Kolb, Bonita Granville, Ann Dvorak, Tom Brown, Patsy Kelly and Willie Best.
A textbook example of screwball comedy, this Hal Roach production was directed by Norman Z. McLeod (Horse Feathers, Topper) and received five Oscar nods in all, including for Norbert Brodine's sparkling cinematography and Charles D. Hall's art direction.