The Easiest Way (1931)

Passed  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  7 February 1931 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 344 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 5 critic

Growing up in a poor working-class family, Laura decides not to marry the boy-next-door and instead accepts wealthy, older Will Brockton's invitation to move in with him. After falling in ... See full summary »



(adaptation), (play)
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Complete credited cast:
William Brockton
Jack Madison
Marjorie Rambeau ...
J. Farrell MacDonald ...
Clara Blandick ...


Growing up in a poor working-class family, Laura decides not to marry the boy-next-door and instead accepts wealthy, older Will Brockton's invitation to move in with him. After falling in love with young up-and-coming newsman Jack Madison she leaves Brockton to wait for Madison's return from a long assignment. She runs out of money and becomes desperate, returning again to Brockton who, upon learning of Madison's sudden arrival, tells Laura she must inform Madison of her living situation or he will. Written by Doug Sederberg <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance






Release Date:

7 February 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Vida Fácil  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The original play opened in New York on 19 December 1909. See more »


When Constance Bennett visits Anita Page and has the child sat on her lap, the fur stole she is wearing drops off of her shoulder; it remains off of her shoulder in distance shots yet miraculously reappears in every close-up. See more »


Laura Murdock: I don't blame anyone, for anything.
See more »


Edited from The Crowd (1928) See more »


Jingle Bells
(1857) (uncredited)
Written by James Pierpont
Played as background music at Christmas time
See more »

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User Reviews

Taboo or not Taboo, that is the question.
7 December 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The Easiest Way is directed by Jack Conway and adapted to screenplay by Edith Ellis from the 1909 play of the same name written by Eugene Walter. It stars Contance Bennett, Adolphe Menjou, Robert Montgomery, Clark Gable and Anita Page.

Obviously tame by today's standards, it's still not hard to see why The Easiest Way ruffled feathers back in the day. Essentially the plot finds Bennett as Laura Murdock, a poor shop girl who grows so tired of sharing a cramped tenement home with her large family, where three to a bed is the norm, she lands herself a rich older man (Menjou) and becomes a kept mistress. This ostracises her greatly and stuck in a loveless relationship, she's in a bad place emotionally. Hope comes in the form of Jack Madison (Montgomery), and the two hit it off right away and fall in love, but can Laura leave behind the wealth for the sake of love? Just what is the easiest way?

And so it is, running at under 75 minutes, pic gets away with what it can by ensuring the taboo nature of the story centre is cunningly evident. Conway and Mescall show some deft ambition with mobile camera work and nice framing shots out in the exteriors. Performances are all credible, with Gable serving early notice of what was to come in his career, and the ending, one of many filmed as the makers searched for tonal closure, works just fine to linger as a bittersweet aftertaste.

Montgomery isn't in it nearly enough given that he is playing one of the key characters, and the big issue of women striding out for their right to challenge society's stone-age ideals is inadequately unfurled. Other than that this is a thoroughly enjoyable piece of of pre-code classic cinema. 7/10

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