Watch Merrily We Live
- 1 hr 35 min
Merrily We Live is a 1938 screwball comedy directed by Norman Z. McLeod and produced by Hal Roach. The film stars Constance Bennett as the eccentric Mrs. Emily Kilbourne, Brian Aherne as the handsome but down-on-his-luck writer Wade Rawlins, and Alan Mowbray as the Kilbournes' snobbish butler, Grosvenor. The movie begins with Rawlins wandering around the countryside looking for work. He comes across the Kilbourne mansion and is mistaken for the new butler they were expecting. Mrs. Kilbourne, a scatterbrained and wealthy socialite, takes a liking to Rawlins and hires him on the spot.
Grosvenor, the pompous head butler, is not pleased with Rawlins and makes it his mission to get rid of him. However, Rawlins quickly endears himself to the rest of the Kilbourne family, including Mrs. Kilbourne's two daughters, Germaine (Bonita Granville) and Susan (Ann Dvorak), and her drunken husband, Mr. Kilbourne (Clarence Kolb).
The film follows the hijinks and misadventures of the Kilbourne family with Rawlins thrown into the mix. Rawlins, who is trying to write a novel, becomes embroiled in the family's drama and helps them solve their problems. Meanwhile, Mrs. Kilbourne takes a shine to Rawlins, much to the jealousy of Grosvenor and the disapproval of Germaine's boyfriend, Jordan Crouse (Tom Brown).
The movie's humor often comes from the eccentricities of Mrs. Kilbourne, who constantly forgets things and has a penchant for getting into trouble. One memorable scene involves her accidentally setting a live lobster loose in her car and then later on, the kitchen. There is also a hilarious subplot involving Mr. Kilbourne's mistaken belief that he is a great inventor, which leads to a disastrous scientific experiment.
Throughout the film, Bennett shines as the vivacious and scatterbrained Mrs. Kilbourne. She is supported by a strong cast, including Aherne and Mowbray, who play off each other well in their roles as the charming writer and disdainful butler, respectively. The rest of the cast, including Granville and Dvorak, also deliver strong performances, adding to the overall zaniness of the film.
The film's pacing is excellent, with the various subplots flowing seamlessly into one another. The dialogue is sharp and witty, with many one-liners and sarcastic quips that still hold up today. The screwball humor is enhanced by the chaotic sets and the impeccable timing of the actors.
In addition, the film's cinematography and score are both excellent. The sets are lavish and sprawling, conveying the wealth of the Kilbourne family, while the music is playful and whimsical, complementing the film's tone perfectly.
Merrily We Live was a critical and commercial success upon its release, and it remains one of the most beloved screwball comedies of the 1930s. Its enduring popularity can be attributed to the timeless humor of the film and the strong performances of its cast. It is a must-see for fans of classic comedies and anyone looking for a lighthearted and entertaining film.
Merrily We Live is a 1938 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 35 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.3.