Easy Living (1937)
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A great screwball comedy written by Preston Sturges, who went on to direct many screwball comedies. "Easy Living" was directed by Mitchell Leisen, who directed a huge number of movies in the 30s, 40s, and 50s, and a significant number of TV shows in the 50s and 60s.
"Easy Living" stars Jean Arthur as our lead; she's one of my favorite comedy actors, and she really shines in this movie. She's cast opposite both Edward Arnold and Ray Milland as her love interests in the typical screwball fashion of mistaken identities, mistaken situations, and mistake after mistake of epic proportions leading to a stock market meltdown and true love. Although Sturges didn't direct, we see the beginnings of his stable of actors with roles by Franklin Pangborn, Robert Greig, and William Demarest.
The gist of the story is that Mary Smith (Arthur), a working girl with nary a dime to spare (it was 1937, after all), is walking to the bus stop when she's hit in the head by a very expensive fur coat thrown from his penthouse by the very wealthy investment banker J.B. Ball (Arnold) in a snit over the expenditures of his wife. A kindly man when not having a snit, J.B. takes her to a store to get another hat (hers broke when it by the fur) and gives her the fur. She's fired from her job because a man gave her a fur, she's taken into a deluxe hotel owned by J.B. because the manager assumes she's his mistress, and she befriends J.B.'s son John (Milland -- at last a last name that's not a first name!), not knowing he's J.B.'s son. Because both are "Mr. Ball," she commits unwitting mayhem on the stock market by passing on young John's utterly unexpert comments on the market to a reporter who also thinks she's J.B.'s mistress relaying J.B.'s sage advice.
It's a very funny comedy. Sturges and Leisen both hit their respective nails on the head with great writing and direction. The supporting cast is superb in adding to and creating mix-ups galore. A glaring difference between A movies and B is the quality of the supporting cast, and that difference shows very much in "Easy Living."