Directed by Mitchell Leisen
Written by Preston Sturges
Starring Jean Arthur, Edward Arnold, Ray Milland, Franklin Pangborn
Approx. 86 minutes. 35mm.
Sturges loved New York, and it's obvious from this classic screwball comedy. Working woman Jean Arthur is bonked on the head with a mink coat while riding on an open-air Fifth Avenue double-decker, mistaken for the mistress of Wall Street lion Edward Arnold, given the most outrageously moderne of Manhattan penthouse suites, and finds love in the Automat with fresh-faced Ray Milland. One of the last screenplays written by Preston Sturges for another director — with a parade of character actors – Pangborn, Demarest, et al. – who’d later make up his own stock company.
“One of the most pleasurable of the romantic comedies of the 1930s – and full of surprises… Funny and gracious and generous in the best Sturges tradition... [but] velvety smooth and comfortably movie-ish in a way no Sturges-directed film ever was... Arthur gives EASY LIVING much of its spunky-elegant resilience. Leisen’s homage to Sternberg-on-Dietrich is, like Arthur’s ambivalent attitude toward her own working-girl beauty, satiric without being derisive, delighted in itself just this side of delirium.”
– Pauline Kael