Directed by: Mitchell Leisen (Remember the Night)
Starring: Jean Arthur, Edward Arnold, Ray Milland, Luis Alberni, Mary Nash, Franklin Pangborn
It all starts when multi-millionaire J.B. Ball (Edward Arnold)—“The Bull of Broad Street”—tosses his wife’s (Mary Nash) new $58,000 sable coat off the roof of their Fifth Avenue mansion—and it lands on Mary Smith’s (Jean Arthur) new hat, breaking its feather. Determined to seek the owner of the coat, she tracks down Ball, who not only takes care of the hat, but gives her the fabulously expensive coat (she has no clue how expensive). This causes her to lose her job (the coat being evidence of dubious morals), but because Louis Louis (Luis Alberni)—owner of the palatial, but financially shaky Hotel Louis—assumes she’s Ball’s girlfriend, he gives Mary a suite in the hotel, assuming her presence will make the hotel the place to stay. It does (all without Mary having a clue about the misunderstanding), but things quickly get out of control—especially once Mary gets involved with John Ball, Jr. (Ray Milland), without of course knowing who he is, or, for that matter, how important his father is. Easy Living‘s (1937) screenplay is by Preston Sturges—of The Good Fairy and Sullivan’s Travels fame—and it’s everything you expect from him. The direction by Mitchell Leisen is brisk and stylish, resulting in one of the best—and cleverest—comedies of the 1930s.
The Asheville Film Society will screen Easy Living on Tuesday, June 12, at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge of The Carolina Asheville and will be hosted by Xpress movie critics Ken Hanke and Justin Souther.
In Brief: Scintillating screwball comedy with Jean Arthur as a young woman who gets a dose of the high life when she’s mistaken for the mistress of a banker (Edward Arnold). The great Preston Sturges provided the very funny screenplay, which director Mitchell Leisen brought to the screen with wit, charm and that glistening classic-era Paramount Pictures look.