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Easy Living

By Joe MacLeod | Posted 10/15/2008

A real-live screwball comedy from 1937, written by Preston Sturges, starring the gifted comic and closeup-ready Jean Arthur (Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington) as Mary Smith, a girl who's behind on her rent, but not ready to blindly accept the sudden gift of a valuable fur coat from choleric, well-fed banker J.B. Ball (gifted baritone Edward Arnold), who's had it with his spendthrift wife, not to mention his spoiled son, played by a sleek young Ray Milland (Lost Weekend, The Thing With Two Heads), who is way out of his league playing against Arthur (maybe we're just jealous), but well-timed slapstick, luxurious sets, glam clothes, and the sheer velocity of the pace carry the light-as-a-feather plot along through frustrated explanations of compound interest all the way to Milland's straight-outta-Hollywood last line, which we bet six nickels will compel you to roll your eyes.

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