Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Carole-tennial(+3) Blogathon: Irene Bullock


This is my contribution to the Carole-tennial(+3) Blogathon which is being hosted by Carole & Co. from October 6-9 in honor of Carole Lombard's 103rd would-have-been birthday on Oct. 6.

     Carole Lombard has long been one of my favorite actresses. Ever since I first saw her in "My Man Godfrey" (1936); then when I sought out other performances like "Nothing Sacred" (1937); then when I moved on to her pairings with Fred MacMurray in "Hands Across the Table" (1935), "The Princess Comes Across" (1936), and "True Confession" (1937); and after that, when I bought "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" (1941) - I've always admired Carole Lombard and, like I said, still do. 
     All of these movies I've mentioned have been comedies (hilarious, hilarious comedies), but I've also seen Carole in dramas like "They Knew What They Wanted" (1940) and "Swing High, Swing Low" (1937 - also with Fred MacMurray). 
     Although I can't say that I think Carole was the best in dramas, she will always be the screwball comedy Queen in my mind. Despite my adoration of Barbara Stanwyck and my dedication to the idea that she was the top at anything and everything, if you were to ask me who the queen of screwball was I would always answer "Carole!".

     My favorite of her roles (and possibly her most remembered?) is her performance as Irene Bullock in My Man Godfrey. As Irene, Carole portrays a dizzy socialite who falls in love with Godfrey (William Powell) the millionaire-turned-hobo-turned-butler who isn't quite as infatuated with her as she is with him. 

     Carole portrays Irene Bullock so perfectly, and so realistically that you are almost brought to believe that there could be a person in the world as ditsy as Irene. Carole was nominated for an "Best Actress" Oscar for her worthy performance, but she unfortunately didn't win. 

     Irene Bullock is one of my all-time favorite Classic Hollywood characters. My top reasons for loving her being:

   1. The way Irene understands nothing about life. Example: when she's talking to Godfrey at their first meeting in the city dump - Irene: Could you tell me why you live in a place like this when there's so many other nice places? Godfrey: You really want to know? Irene: Oh, I'm very curious. Godfrey: It's because my real estate agent felt that the altitude would be very good for my asthma. She just doesn't get it...
   2. Irene's insane ideas about love as she screams "Godfrey loves me! He put me in the shower!".
   3. There's also that more dramatic side of Irene. "What difference does it make where one puts flowers when one's heart is breaking?" She asks, after Godfrey basically tells her not to be in love with him.
   4. The philosophical side of Irene who, while still mourning that Godfrey doesn't want her to love him, states "Life is but an empty bubble". Another moment of philosophical Irene is when she explains to Godfrey that, "You know, there's no sense in struggling against a thing when it's got you. It's got you and that's all there is to it - it's got you!".
   5. The voice (technically Carole Lombard's voice). Which sounds like she's sighing all the time, which makes Irene sound as lightheaded as she acts - just adding to the perfection.
   6. Her wardrobe. Her wardrobe. and Her Wardrobe. She was rich, it was the 30s - what did we expect? It's incredible what she can get away with wearing:


   7. The amount of dialogue she can get out under 5 seconds without getting tongue-tied: "Oh, I've forgotten all about him. He had fleas anyway, and besides you're different, you use big words and you're much cuter." I counted...4 seconds, and she doesn't slip at all. 
   8. Her inability to follow an intelligent conversation, which she freely admits.  
   9. Her fake 'spells'! As she lays on the couch crying her heart out, her whole family trying to console her, Carlos imitating an ape to make her happy; and all this hullabaloo just to get Godfrey to pay her some attention.
     Now, I'm done with my reasoning. ;) Hope you enjoyed! And, of course, a very happy would-be 103rd birthday to the queen of screwball, Carole Lombard! We love you, Carole! <3 
Until Later On~ 


  1. Great job...and from what I know about Barbara Stanwyck, who liked Carole both as a person and as an actress (they occasionally socialized as a foursome with Robert Taylor and Clark Gable), she would have no complaints with Lombard getting the "queen of comedy" honor -- just as Carole would probably agree that no actress excelled in more genres than Stanwyck.

    Thanks for your contribution to "Carole-tennial(+3)!"

  2. Thanks! And, you're probably right about Stanwyck...that makes me feel better. :) You're very welcome! Thanks for hosting!

  3. I haven't seen this particular Lombard film, but your great review makes me want to watch it. Your blog is really giving me an education in classic Hollywood movies!

  4. You've never seen My Man Godfrey?! I would definitely say that that movie is a must-see. I'm glad I've been able to expand your knowledge with what little I know about it! That makes me really happy!!

  5. Awesome post on Carole, Natalie! I agree that she most certainly was the queen of Screwball and super awesome at it.

  6. A great take on Carole's most recognizable role. My favorite of her films like many others.

    Enjoyed your contribution for the Carole-tennial

    Page @

  7. Nice piece on the lovely Carole.

    In my piece for the Blogathon, I include a top 5 list of Lombard's performances, and Irene is number two. Great film and great performance.

  8. Glad you liked it. :) I'm planning to read your piece ASAP, haven't been able to yet. Carole's performance here was unarguably brilliant - you gotta love Irene!

  9. I like how you laid out that list of Irene Bullock's many talents. Who else could look so happy after being put in the shower? And her crying fits are hysterically funny.

  10. I love Irene Bullock! Glad you liked my piece! :)


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