Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


EASY LIVING (1937). Director: Mitchell Leisen.

Shop girl Mary Smith (Jean Arthur) is on her way to work and minding her own business when a sable coat drops out of the sky and lands on her head. Before long everyone is convinced that she is the mistress of J. B. Ball (Edward Arnold), the married millionaire who threw the coat off the roof because his wife's spending was out of control. Hotelier Louis Louis (Luis Alberni) invites her to stay in his magnificent Imperial Suite (with five reception rooms and an incredible shower-bath) for $7 a week (all she can afford) but when she finds nothing in the refrigerator she heads for the automat. There she meets Ball's son John (Ray Milland), who's trying to earn his own way in the world, but instead causes a riot when he tries to get Mary a free meat pie. While this isn't necessarily a laugh-a-minute comedy, it has some very amusing sequences (such as the automat riot), interesting characters, and a cute situation. Good performances, especially from Alberni and the incomparable Franklin Pangborn as a shop owner. Esther Dale is also great as Arnold's no-nonsense secretary, who doesn't take any guff from him.

Verdict: Minor-league but fun. **1/2.

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