Most helpful positive review
66 of 69 people found the following review helpful
One of the great screwball comedies comes to DVD; more Jean Arthur, please!
on January 12, 2008
Jean Arthur was one of the greatest screen actresses of the 1930s and early 1940s, but because she worked semi-independently (she had non-exclusive contracts with Paramount, RKO, Columbia and United Artists), her combined work has been little seen in these days of box sets. With a great Preston Sturges script, and expert direction by the much-underrated Mitchell Leisen, EASY LIVING is one of the best examples of her work: a working-class girl (Arthur) is sitting atop an open-air bus when a millionaire (the inimitable Edward Arnold) flings his wife's fur coat out the window and it lands on Arthur's head. Hilarious complications ensue, which include a young Ray Milland as the millionaire's son and the always-great Mary Nash (Hepburn's mother in THE PHILADELPHIA STORY) as the coat-less wife. But it is Jean Arthur, whose wonderful combination of dizziness and indomitablility, that make this spin merrily along, and it is a delight form start to finish. Columbia (Sony) has the bulk of the best Arthur titles in its library (MR. DEEDS, MR. SMITH, YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU, MORE THE MERRIER, TOO MANY HUSBANDS, TALK OF THE TOWN, ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS), but the MCA/Paramount titles are also pretty prime (A FOREIGN AFFAIR, THE PLAINSMAN, SHANE and EASY LIVING), and a mini-box set would be greatly anticipated. MCA has done extremely well by several of its great Paramount stars (Lombard, Dietrich) but we need more Colbert, more Stanwyck, deHavilland, Rogers, Russell, Goddard, Fontaine et al. The announcement of some other gems on their release schedule (the divine MIDNIGHT and THE MAJOR AND THE MINOR) is cause for celebration; let's hope this really is the beginning of a great trend!