Out today for the first time on Blu-ray & DVD, here's a trailer we cut for our restoration of Merrily We Live (1938).
The Hal Roach, screwball comedy stars Constance Bennett and Brian Aherne with a splendid supporting cast including Billie Burke in her only Oscar-nominated role.
Newly transferred and restored.
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.