Posts tagged ‘mitchell leisen’

December 19th, 2010

Midnight (1939)

Midnight Midnight Midnight

Every Cinderella has her midnight.

First order of business: my apologies for the absence of sustainable cinematic content over the past few months. Real life, holiday life, and some other lives in between have intruded on my blogging duties. But hopefully that’s long past now, and we can get back to “business as usual.”

And on that note, there’s no business like show business, so let us commence discussion of Mitchell Leisen’s 1939 production of Midnight. Interestingly enough, this is a film that lays claim to a screenwriting credit from Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder, the very same pair that brought us such gems as A Foreign Affair and Sunset Blvd. While Midnight does not even approach the brilliance of those titles, perhaps in part because it is an adaptation as opposed to an original story, there is still much to enjoy and dissect here.

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August 8th, 2010

Easy Living (1937)

Easy Living Easy Living Easy Living
Cloudy with a chance of fur coats // Her hat is ruined // Ball offers to buy her a new one

Mitchell Leisen’s Easy Living explores the age-old question, “Who am I?,” through a series of would-be catastrophes predicated on a classic plot device:  mistaken identity.  Heroine Mary Smith (Jean Arthur) is an ordinary girl who experiences the extraordinary, when a fur coat drops from the sky and lands on her head.  The coat belongs to the wife of financier J.B. Ball (Edward Arnold), “the Bull of Broad Street.”  At $58,00 US (approximately $900,000 by today’s standards), the coat represents the sort of extravagance that precipitated Black Tuesday, and one that Ball is loathe to countenance. When triumphantly told by his wife that it cannot be returned, he tosses it off the roof to teach her a lesson.

In a random act of kindness, Ball offers to buy Mary a new hat to replace the one damaged by the fall of the coat.  The boutique staff assumes that she is his mistress, setting into motion a series of events that will change both the lives of Mary, Ball, as well as that of Ball’s dilettante son, John (Ray Milland).

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