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Easy Living (January 14, 2010)

The screenplay for Easy Living was based on a Vera Caspary story and was written by Preston Sturges. It was his first screenplay for Paramount. Mitchell Leisen directed, starting in April 1937, and the picture was released in July of that same year. The art direction, especially notable in the Hotel Louis suite set, is by Hans Dreier and Ernst Fegté. The cinematographer is Ted Tetzlaff. Jean Arthur’s clothes are by Travis Banton.
In retrospect, it seems like an almost effortless screwball comedy, which incorporates a common theme found in these films--the idle rich contrasted to the working girl or boy. The film critic David Thomson has called it “a delicious comedy about a fur coat in a hypocritical society, and one of Jean Arthur’s best films.” Three years later Sturges was directing his own films, with a recurring stock company of character actors, and Thomson sees the nucleus of that stock company, including Franklin Pangborn, William Demerest, and Robert Greig, coalescing in this movie. I think the automat sequence alone qualifies this picture as a national treasure. I hope you enjoy watching Easy Living tonight.