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Favorite Butlers (besides Rhett)


filmlover

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I was watching "Top Hat" again last night and I had forgotten what a delight Eric Blore is as the manservant. It put me in mind of some of my other favorites. For example, William Powell in "My Man Godfrey" and Edward Everett Horton in "Pocketful of Miracles."

 

Some of us may never have a butler, but if you could, which movie butler(s) would you like to serve you?

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I love Hollywood butlers. Eric Blore and Edward Everett Horton are too favorites of mine as well. I also thought Blore was great in *The Ex-Mrs. Bradford* and *Sullivan's Travels* and though not a butler I crack up at his hypochondriac doctor in *Romance on the High Seas.*

 

I also like Allan Mowbray in *Panama Hattie.* I just watched *Platinum Blonde* again and I was reminded that Halliwell Hobbes could play a great butler.

 

But to answer your question, definitely Eric Blore. No contest.

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The sublimely funny and often obtuse *Eric Blore* ought to be the patron saint of all butlers, though I agree that Arthur Treacher deserves a special niche in Butler heaven too, especially for his amusing role in Heidi.

 

Of course William Powell's Godfrey deserves a mention as does anything Halliwell Hobbes who played many butlers but rarely appeared even when he played an easily appalled but stalwart and never servile fellow he was fun. I was recently reminded of how good Hobbes could be dramatically when I saw him in The Masquerader (1933) with Ronald Colman on TCM recently.

 

I'm fond of William Gargan's ex-boxer who helped Leslie Howard in The Animal Kingdom and Jack Carson in the same role in a somewhat tepid remake in the '40s, One More Tomorrow. I like when Alan Mowbray plays a butler, as in Merrily We Live (1937). Mowbray just knows he's too good for the family that employs him. He puts just enough of an edge into his characterizations to give them some bite.

 

Speaking of bite, there's one man I'd never want working in my household, (and I don't care how hard servants are to find): Dirk Bogarde in The Servant. Yikes!

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No discussion of Butlers is complete without mentioning Ian Wolfe, who played so many butlers, or butler types. And his final butler role was the wiley Hirsch on WKRP in Cincinnati who always put Mrs Carlson (Carol Bruce) in her place.

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