Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cinema Tuesdays {Easy Living}

From 1937, it's a screwball comedy staring that wonderful comedianne Jean Arthur (she's also my favourite actress). I took 300 screen shots while watching this, not because of Miss Arthur's extensive wardrobe (she only wears three dresses and a pair of pyjammas) but because of it's lavish sets and the fact that the film is all about a fur coat. It's also one of the most quick witted of all screwballs, mostly because this fellow wrote it before he started directing too:
Now, Mrs. Ball has done a very silly thing. She has bought a non-refundable $58,000 sable coat without telling Mr. Ball first. He gets quite upset and, naturally, throws the coat off of the roof.
Wouldn't you just kill for this coat closet? It reminds me of Lana Turner's closet in Ziegfeld Girl (or is that the other way round), only with more furs.

The coat just happens to land on Jean Arthur while she's riding the bus to work and it ruins her hat.
Being the nice girl that she is, she gets off the bus and walks up and down Park Avenue, trying to return it.
Mr. Ball meets her and tells Jean Arthur that she's stupid for not accepting a free gift. He then gives her the coat and takes her to a hat shop and buys her a matching sable hat.
This doesn't go well when she arrives late to work with an expensive fur coat. After all, there's only one reason why a girl is suddenly able to afford a fur coat.

They don't believe her story of a coat landing on top of her and she if fired just before pay day.

Meanwhile, the hat shop just happens to be inside of the lobby of the Hotel Louis. The hat seller just happens to mention to Louis that the banker Mr. Ball has a new mistress. Louis, since he's three years behind on three different mortgages, which he owes to Mr. Ball who will foreclose in a week. Louis decides that the best way to stay afloat is to have Jean Arthur move into the hotel.
And a good thing too, as Jean Arthur was breaking into her piggy bank.
So, Louis gives her the Imperial Suite for a dollar a night. It has two bedrooms, a kitchen and five receiving rooms (which makes my two and a half receiving rooms seem rather inadequate). Of course, decorum wont permit him to directly say why she's there, so Jean Arthur thinks that she's been hired to spread a word-of-mouth campaign to promote the Hotel Louis.
Since she is only allowed breakfast at the hotel, she goes off in search of dinner. At the automat, she, naturally, meets Ray Milland who's playing Mr. Ball jr. going throught that rich kid storm out of the house and get a minimum wage job. Naturally.
They hit it off right away and cause a food fight and have Ray Milland fired.
Look, early pre-Orwell CCTV.
After they leave the automat, Jean Arthur takes him back to the hotel to shows that she wasn't kidding.
Maybe he can figure out how to work the new bath system.
Or not.
The hat seller then turns up to give her some free stuff.
I still can't believe that Jean Arthur was 37 when she made this film.
How to get the Code (that is the one foot on the floor rule): put the couple on the couch instead of the bed.
Louis leeks the story to the press and people crowd into his lobby in order to get a glimpse or to at least say that they were there.
Jean Arthur is then inundated with phone calls offering her free stuff and seeking endorsement.

Ray Milland also finds some more offerings when he opens the suite door to get the paper.

"Do you worry to much? See the Professional Listener for $1.50 a day." Say, I could do that, I wonder if that offer is still available
The only people not to see that gossip item are Jean Arthur and Mr. Ball.

Jean Arthur also causes an inadvertent by telling some nutbar in the hall that steel would go down. It's so serious that Mr. Ball has to cal Mr. whatshisface out of the barber shop to deal with it.
Jean Arthur however, has made a lot of money throught the stock market and celebrates by going to a pet store.
The Balls and Jean Arthur do find out what the mix up his and she is kicked out of the Hotel Louise as a result of not being a mistress.
But don't worry, it has a funny, happy ending.

Here's the famous piggy bank scene:

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