Easy Living (1937)

easy-living-1937-18

Screwball comedies are good for you. In fact, you should probably watch one every day when you wake up. Wouldn’t that be nice? Go on, write that down. Make it your resolution for 2017. And if you want my advice, I think you should start with Mitchell Leisen’s Easy Living (1937).

After finding out that his wife Jenny (Mary Nash) has bought yet another expensive coat, millionaire banker J.B. Ball, played by the adorably grumpy Edward Arnold, gets fed up and decides to throw it over the balcony. It lands on working girl Mary Smith (Jean Arthur) and when she tries to return it, he tells her to keep it. This leads to an array of gossip and misunderstandings – well, of course, it’s a screwball comedy -, made worse by the fact that Mary ends up falling in love with J.B.’s son, John (Ray Milland), and vice-versa.  

Written by the mighty Preston Sturges, based on the novel by Vera Caspary (who also wrote Laura), Easy Living is one of the great screwball comedies. For me personally, I’ve always found that screwball comedies have the ability to make me laugh and calm me down at the same time and this one is no exception. I think it has to do with the balance between the slapstick moments (which, as you can imagine, are hilarious) and the relationship between Mary and John, which is just the cutest thing ever. Although, I have to say that, if I had to pick a favorite thing about this film, it would probably be Mr Louis (Luis Alberni)’s lines, which – and I wish I was kidding – I have written down to use at some point in my life. But I can’t pick a favorite, really. There are so many great things about this movie. Jean Arthur and Edward Arnold are comedy geniuses, and their scenes together are fantastic, namely the one in the taxi right at the beginning of the film. That scene is probably the second best taxi scene ever, after On the Waterfront (1954).

In short, Easy Living is fabulous. And you need it in your life.

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12 thoughts on “Easy Living (1937)

      1. caracoleta07

        Well, thanks to some random *sshole on fb yesterday, I watched this one before going to sleep to distract myself. You already got my comments as I was watching and now I can comment better on this article.

        I do agree that Mary and John have a great relationship. I’d never seen Ray Milland so young and looking so adorable.

        The taxi ride… it’s pretty funny and the consequent amount of times J.B. Ball starts mentioning the number 100 because of it, are too ^_^

        Like Mr. Louis I want to use the phrase “You tickle the ivories?” ahah

        I have to say that the scene at the dinner is epic! One word: Pepper.
        I do agree that Mary and John have a great relationship. I’d never seen Ray Milland so young and looking so adorable.

        The taxi ride… it’s pretty funny and the consequent amount of times J.B. Ball starts mentioning the number 100 because of it, are too ^_^

        Like Mr. Louis I want to use the phrase “You tickle the ivories?” ahah

        I have to say that the scene at the dinner is epic! One word: Pepper.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Great review, but I’ve never heard of this film before! But I love Jean Arthur so I’d make sure to watch it one of these days. Don’t you think this actress always looked younger than her age? I mean, she was 39 in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, but look more like she is in her 20s or early 30s.
    And I would love to watch a screwball comedy every morning 😛

    Liked by 2 people

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