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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jean Arthur, Preston Sturges and Mitchell Leisen make a fine, funny screwball comedy
When an expensive sable coat, thrown from a penthouse balcony by Wall Street tycoon J. B. Ball (Edward Arnold), lands on the head of office clerk Mary Smith (Jean Arthur) while she's riding to work on the top deck of a city bus, we're off on a fine screwball comedy that nails class assumptions to the wall. (The wall being a fabulous suite of the Hotel Louis.) Ball, known...
Published on 3 Jun 2008 by C. O. DeRiemer

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "12 times 1 is not 600"
Delightful comedy written by Preston Sturges features the wonderful Jean Arthur as a working girl who literally has a sable coat drop into her lap.Her unwitting benefactor wealthy banker J B Ball(Edward Arnold)sets off a chain of events that take Arthur from the gutter to the gates of high finance and extreme wealth.
A top notch cast(Arnold as the combustible...
Published on 23 July 2008 by Mark Pearce


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jean Arthur, Preston Sturges and Mitchell Leisen make a fine, funny screwball comedy, 3 Jun 2008
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C. O. DeRiemer (San Antonio, Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Easy Living [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
When an expensive sable coat, thrown from a penthouse balcony by Wall Street tycoon J. B. Ball (Edward Arnold), lands on the head of office clerk Mary Smith (Jean Arthur) while she's riding to work on the top deck of a city bus, we're off on a fine screwball comedy that nails class assumptions to the wall. (The wall being a fabulous suite of the Hotel Louis.) Ball, known as the Bull of Broad Street, threw the coat to spite his extravagant wife. Although it was a mistake, as soon as word gets around that Mary Smith has a coat from J. B. Ball, it's not long before people begin to assume that Mary must be the Bull's mistress. And although she loses her job, almost instantly all those who want a piece of the Bull are falling over themselves to make Mary happy. She winds up in the Hotel Louis in a suite that could only have been dreamed up by Hollywood designers. Clothes and jewels are delivered; a car and chauffeur show up. Mary is mystified by all this, but happily accepts. When she meets a young man who works at the automat, well...we know, of course, that the young man is Johnnie Ball (Ray Milland), son of J. B. Ball, and that he earlier had stormed out of the family mansion determined to prove he could be his own man. It all gets sorted out, but only after a new Depression may get started fueled by more loony assumptions.

Preston Sturges, who wrote the script, brings all the social satire and clever dialogue to Easy Living that he brought to the films he directed and wrote later. Mitchell Leisen, the director, gives the movie a sweet speed. The slapstick moments are like the whipped cream on top of the ice cream sundae. There is a food fight in the automat that is so witty and filled with pratfalls that it makes Animal House look like the work of...hmmm...juveniles.

Jean Arthur and Edward Arnold take above-the-title billing, and they make a compelling set of screwball actors. That Arnold's J. B. Ball is irascible is putting it gently. Yet Arnold makes the tycoon funny and human, and there's no doubt that he really cares for that wife of his. Jean Arthur, of course, makes the movie work. What a one-of-a-kind actress she was, with that air of surprised innocence and that vaguely husky voice with the hint of a squeak now and then. It's worth remembering that Jean Arthur, who was born in 1900, paid her dues in more than 50 silent films, movies with titles like Biff Bang Buddy, Bigger and Better Blondes, and Twisted Triggers. She was 35 when she hit major stardom and stayed at the top through her last movie, Shane, in 1953. That innocent sexiness, acting skill, instant likeability and that voice allowed her to consistently play 10 to 20 years younger than her age. For me, Jean Arthur at 53 and playing Marian Starrett, a woman probably 20 years younger, is the real center of Shane. She gives a deep reality to what all those homesteaders stand for. And she, without saying a word, is what motivates Ladd as Shane to do what he must do. In my opinion, Arthur gives the best performance in the movie. That's something you can say about almost every movie Jean Arthur was in.

And let's not forget some fine character actors who help make Easy Living as funny as it is. Among them is Mary Nash as the Bull's wife, who really does love J. B. (as he does her). By the end of the movie we like them both a lot; Luis Alberni as Mr. Louis Louis of the Hotel Louis, who is energetically ethnic; Franklin Pangborn as Van Buren, the prissy (of course) proprietor of an exclusive hat shop; William Demarest as Wallace Whistling, gossip reporter; Esther Dale as the Bull's unimpressed and decidedly matronly secretary; and Robert Greig as Graves, the portly, imperturbable butler in the Ball household. They all have a chance to shine, and shine they do.

Easy Living doesn't have a pristine DVD transfer, but it looks fine. The only extra is a two-minute disposable introduction by Turner Classic Movie's Robert Osborne.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "12 times 1 is not 600", 23 July 2008
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This review is from: Easy Living [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
Delightful comedy written by Preston Sturges features the wonderful Jean Arthur as a working girl who literally has a sable coat drop into her lap.Her unwitting benefactor wealthy banker J B Ball(Edward Arnold)sets off a chain of events that take Arthur from the gutter to the gates of high finance and extreme wealth.
A top notch cast(Arnold as the combustible financier is hilarious),sharp dialogue and pacy direction from Mitchell Leisen put this bristling comedy across with some style.Beautiful timing and a slapstick sequence in a food parlour is a hoot.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mangled Italian Sturgesese and High Voltage Balls, 15 May 2013
This review is from: Easy Living [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
Yes the Balls of Broad Street start at 110 decibels (Edward Arnold and son Ray Milland)and the Sturges-istic bellowing doesn't really relent at all except when ancient secretary reminds Ed of his blood pressure. It'd probably take a proper critic to notice the stylistic differences between this (Mitchell Leisen) and a Sturges directed, as opposed to scripted, vehicle - maybe there is something slightly more poised, in the way the camera moves and in the subtler eroticism of the Hotel Louis dinner? Nevertheless, the stock company is being assembled here including briefly the great William Demarest. Luis Alberni is the focus of the verbal slapstick with some pretty hilarious malapropisms and fumbled idioms. There is classic chaos in the 'automat' and Ray Milland, Jean Arthur and Edward Arnold do a very good job throughout as double-take piles on double-take at the frenetic climax. Classical stuff with a deliriously optimistic, escapist, anti-Depression ethos with the Sullivan's Travels message.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars very enjoyable one-joke farce, 13 Oct 2008
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This review is from: Easy Living [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
This 1937 movie is rated as one of the funniest screwball comedies of the thirties. Loud millionaire J.B. Ball, the always good (and always loud) Edward Arnold, tells his extravagantly aggressive wife (Mary Nash) that she cannot keep her $58,000 Sable coat. Ball throws it out of the upper window of their mansion where it happens to fall right on top of bewildered Mary Smith (Arthur), who's traveling on an open-air bus. Mary's a poor gal who works for a magazine.

The millionaire is then seen buying Mary a new hat by the town gossip and soon she gets more than just a hat: practically all of New York is at her feet. The scene where she and Milland, her love interest, wreak havoc at the now-obsolete automat is truly inspired and hilarious. The rather offbeat cast works wonders with the great Preston Sturges script: the whacko cast helps push the one-joke material through to a happy finish, and the movie helped establish Jean Arthur as a comedienne of the first rank.

It is good but I've only given it 4 stars because it is silly (as are all those screwball comedies) and unrelentingly strident.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Inadequate Description, 9 May 2014
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This review is from: Easy Living [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
AT NO POINT IN THE DESCRIPTION OF THIS dvd DID YOU MAKE IT CLEAR THAT IT WOULD OPERATE ONLY IN REGION 1. Because other DVDs had specific warnings to this effect, I assumed that "Easy Living", with no such warning, would be operable in Region2 as well as or solely in Region 2. Please be more explicit in future
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4.0 out of 5 stars A lovely little film, 6 April 2014
This review is from: Easy Living (Amazon Instant Video)
No it's not the most amazing film I've ever seen in my life. But it's lighthearted and fun. I loved this ditzy character and her ways. I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a romantic comedy.
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Easy Living [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Easy Living [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] by Mitchell Leisen (DVD - 2008)
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