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Jean Arthur and Ray Milland shine in this screwball comedy written by Academy Award winner Preston Sturges. Mary Smith (Arthur) is a poor working girl who literally has a fortune dropped in her lap when a wealthy financier (Edward Arnold) tosses a sable coat out a window and it lands on her. Everyone automatically assumes she's his mistress, and soon her fairytale-like rags-to-riches lifestyle threatens a very real romance with an inept waiter (Milland). It's a "delightful comedy" (Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie Guide) full of misunderstandings that showcases high-society slapstick at its best!
Of all the screenplays Preston Sturges wrote for Paramount before becoming the greatest comic director of his generation, 1937's Easy Living seems the most like something he would have filmed himself--a satirical fable about chance, class, and the absurdity of the American dream. Jean Arthur is a New York secretary riding to work atop a double-decker bus when a fur coat miraculously descends from the sky and settles on her shoulders. The fur, however, has not dropped from Olympus but from the hand of a millionaire (Edward Arnold) who has just tossed it from a nearby roof to punish his wife. But as if it were a magic fleece (the mythical reference is almost certainly intended by the erudite Sturges), it makes its wearer invincible, conferring an aura of prosperity, celebrity, and power on the previously average working girl. No folk tale is complete without a prince: Sturges's is the millionaire's son, Ray Milland, who is trying to pass as an apprentice stockbroker. Directed with a light, elegant touch by Mitchell Leisen, the film lacks the crazy energy it would have had under Sturges's own hand, but this remains one of the great screwball comedies (in a year that also saw The Awful Truth and Nothing Sacred). --Dave Kehr --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The plot involves Edward Arnold as a wealthy banker by the name of Mr.Ball.He has an extravagant wife who has a closet full of stoles,but who had to go and buy just one more,worth around $50,000!! Edward gets apoplectic and takes the stole and throws it over their apartment balcony.It lands on a passing double decker New York bus and onto the head of Jean.She gets off and tries to return it and eventually runs into Arnold who tells her she earned it and to keep it.In fact he takes her to a hat shop to buy her a new chapeau also.
In the meantime a hotelier by the name of Louis whose business is less than stellar,is going bankrupt and needs cash in order to pay off Arnold's bank loan.Arnold gives him a week to do so,but Louis learns from the hat man that Arnold now has a mistress,or so the story goes.This is the pivotal screwball moment and everything from here on in is one mix up piled on top of another.Louis thinking if he sucks up to Arnold,not to mention keeping Arnold's "situation" discreet,the loan will be forgiven or at least extended.
Well tongues wag,as they do in "situations" like this,and before you know it his "affair" is societal news all around New York.The only two unaware of it are Arthur and Arnold himself.Louis meanwhile puts Arthur up in his hotel in the swankiest apartment there is,and Arthur is gobsmacked.She tells him she can't afford but $7.00 a week and he agrees to the price.Read more ›
manage to join up in the hijinks and the movie ends as it began , with the coat thrown again landing on a different young lady.
It is good fun throughout , but lags now and then. This may be the movie that originated the mob food fight.
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A classic, to be enjoyed again and again. Preston Sturges shines in this film - you could believe he directed it himself but he didn't. Read morePublished 20 months ago by SGM