Wednesday, July 15, 2009

EASY LIVING (1937)

In 1940 Preston Sturges would join the ranks of film gods like Charlie Chaplin, Howard Hawks and Frank Capra to become one of the first screenwriters to make the leap from just writing to also directing. And direct he did! Between 1941 and 1944 he wrote and directed three of my favorite movies of all time: THE LADY EVE, THE MIRACLE OF MORGAN'S CREEK and HAIL THE CONQUERING HERO. EASY LIVING was made three years before he made his big jump. He was just a screenwriter, but even so his influence can been seen all over it.

As usual with Preston Sturges movies the wackiness starts from the very beginning. This time around an extremely rich New York City banker gets pissed off when his wife spends $58,000 on a fur coat without telling him. He crashes into her room(s) like a bull and when he's unable to find the fur in question he just grabs one of the others and with her chasing him he runs to the roof of their high rise and slings it off. Down it goes where it lands on Jean Arthur's head and smashes the feather on her hat. She wants to know who messed up her hat so she confronts the banker as he's leaving his building. He apologizes and tells her she can have the coat and then he innocently takes her to a hat store to get her a new hat. Naturally when people see them together they suspect the worst (that she's his mistress) and that's when Sturges goes off to the races! You got mass confusion, mistaken identities, dogs jumping all over the joint, people falling down in a giant bathtub, a piggy bank getting murdered, phone cords tangled up, a riot scene in an Automat that had me laughing so hard I had to rewatch it three times, a police chase and much more.

If you're not opposed to older movies and you like comedies then you should check this one out. I really enjoyed it. Still as funny as this film was it doesn't hold a candle to the three I mentioned earlier. The first time I saw THE MIRACLE OF MORGAN'S CREEK I laughed until I thought that I might actually choke to death. No lie.