Ever notice how some of the best movies begin with a car? Brian Aherne's old flivver breaks down, and all hell starts to break loose! That's how the early-1938 comedy classic, "Merrily We Live" begins, following with a laugh for each of its 95 screen minutes. It's no secret that comedy movies were more popular than ever during the long, dark years of the Great Depression. Rather reminiscent of the antics of '34's "It Happened One Night" and '37's "Topper," as well as '38 film stable mate, "Bringing Up Baby," "Merrily We Live" was one of the favorite comedies that year, both among the public and the critics. Written with laser wit, the movie captured five Academy Award nominations, plus a Best-Sup- porting-Actress Oscar for Billie Burke (who would go on in a few months to play Glinda, "the good witch," in "The Wizard of Oz" ). But, compared to the other aforementioned films, "Merrily" today is rarely heard of and is, IMO, a gem waiting to be rediscovered by modern generations! A good many of the gags here are anchored by the scatterbrained observations of Burke's matron character. Brilliantly cast, cleverly written, crisply directed and tightly timed, the movie was a smash escapist comedy in an era when the country craved anything to lift spirits. As well, the chemistry of "Merrily We Live" is sometimes cited by film historians as helping lay groundwork for future successful screen comedies, from "Cheaper by the Dozen" to the likes of "I Love Lucy" and "Tammy and the Bachelor." Every character -- from dingbat Emily to the stuffy butler -- is crafted to strut, and to wring laughs, before the camera. Just a capricious, madcap screwball comedy that should be seen to be appreciated! Billie Burke as dizzy society matron Emily Kilbourne, THANKS to flixter What TIME magazine said: Merrily We Live (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer) spins a yarn as merry as it is unimportant about a delightfully diffuse matron (Billie Burke) whose hobby is putting tramps back on their feet. When unshaven, wayfaring Author Brian Aherne wants to use her telephone, her uplifting eye lights up. First thing Wayfarer Aherne knows he has become the family's handsome, clean-shaven chauffeur; next thing he knows, the roving eye of Daughter Constance Bennett has lit up, too, and he becomes the center of as stormy a family ruckus as ever squalled. Before its capricious hour-and-a-half is over, Merrily We Live whisks up a first-rate cast (Alan Mowbray, Clarence Kolb, Bonita Granville, Patsy Kelly), deposits them in a neat row leading straight to its sure-fire climax. And Variety: It's all in the acting and directing. Director Norman Z. McLeod has the knack of building up gags until he has three or four racing each other to the big laugh. Most of the fun comes from a fine performance by Billie Burke, who plays a scatterbrain wife and mother in a family of irresponsibles. Burke has a weakness for helping worthless humanity. Brian Aherne is welcomed to the fold. It happens he isn't a tramp at all, but a writer who forgot to shave on the morning his flivver broke down when he stops by to use the telephone. Once inside, he decides to stay. In his calm and self-possessed manner he begins to bring some order out of the confusion in which the Kilbourne family lives. This leads to a romance with the elder daughter (Constance Bennett), and a timely word which clinches an important business deal for the head of the house.