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Jean Arthur and Ray Milland shine in this screwball comedy written by Academy Award winner Preston Sturges. Mary Smith (Arthur) is a poor working girl who literally has a fortune dropped in her lap when a wealthy financier (Edward Arnold) tosses a sable coat out a window and it lands on her. Everyone automatically assumes she's his mistress, and soon her fairytale-like rags-to-riches lifestyle threatens a very real romance with an inept waiter (Milland). It's a "delightful comedy" (Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie Guide) full of misunderstandings that showcases high-society slapstick at its best!
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Funny. Beautiful main characters. Good story line. They don't make romantic comedies any better than this.
Bonus: life in the late 30's. Glamour, decadence, frugality, fashion -- it's all eye candy today. Count how many servants the rich NY banker walks by just before he finishes breakfast. See his wife still up in her floor-to-ceiling mirrored dressing room dressed in a satin robe with wide fur cuffs. Those mirrored walls are actually closet doors and there's a closet full of fur coats in one of them.
It's fantasy. It's fun. It's a fun romantic comedy and it stars the wonderful Jean Arthur.
The premise; excitable Wall Street banker, Edward Arnold has a fight with his wife and throws her new fur coat down from the top of their 5th Avenue mansion. What happens to the person it lands on is the story (poor Jean Arthur going to work sitting on the top of an open-air bus).
Brilliant performances from all; Jean Arthur, Edward Arnold, Ray Milland, Esther Dale, Franklin Pangborn, Luis Albeti and others are letter-perfect.
Many wild comedies of the 1930's are grouped in as being 'Screwball'. This one IS screwball and Sturges practically invented the artform.
Now...if some of Arthur's other great films would be released; "If You Could Only Cook", "The Devil and Miss Jones", "The Whole Town's Talking".
This is absolutely a must-have.
Also released with this brilliant comedy are three other must-haves; "The Major and The Minor", "Midnight" and "She Done Him Wrong".
By the way, the other reviewer had it wrong; from 1935 through 1944, Arthur had an exclusive contract with Columbia Pictures and many of her best movies were done as loan-outs. She did not have a 'non-exclusive' contract.
Heroine Jean Arthur, down to her last dime, decides to break open her piggybank - but soft-hearted Jean can't do it - she has to first tie a blindfold around the piggy's eyes before smashing it open! Every math teacher in the world will crack up as Edward Arnold, in his usual role as the great man of business, this time as a prominent banker, spends a fruitless five minutes in the backseat of his limo trying to explain the trap of compound interest payments to shopgirl Jean, who insists she knows arithmetic better than he does and drives him half-crazy when she can't follow his reasoning.
And on and on all leading up to the legendary Automat scene with Ray Milland and Jean Arthur creating utter chaos at the food automat.
If you like Jean Arthur, or Preston Sturges, and you haven't yet seen this doozy of a screwball comedy - now you can! Don't miss it!
- a funny screenplay with the usual nutty Sturges scenes of screwball comedy and cracks at capitalism
- Ray Milland emerging as an expert and handsome leading man
- bright lighting and lush sets, typical of director Liesen
- Arthur herself, giving the film a warm and glowing core, combining her winning smile with a persistent look of bewilderment. She is charming and credible.
The print of the film is excellent but there are no extras except a cursory introduction by TCM host Robert Osborne. Not even a scene selection option is provided. The DVD is expensive.