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The Easiest Way (1931)

Passed  -  Drama | Romance  -  7 February 1931 (USA)
6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 284 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 4 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 »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
William Brockton
...
Jack Madison
...
Peg
Marjorie Rambeau ...
Elfie
J. Farrell MacDonald ...
Ben
Clara Blandick ...
Agnes
...
Nick
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Storyline

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 <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed
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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

7 February 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Vida Fácil  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Goofs

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 »

Connections

Version of The Easiest Way (1917) See more »

Soundtracks

Silent Night, Holy Night
(1818) (uncredited)
Music by Franz Gruber
Played as background music at Christmas time
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Edwardian Era Belasco Melodrama
11 January 2012 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

As sound and dialog came to films the Broadway stage became more and more a source for movie properties even if they had to go back considerable ways for material. The Easiest Way was a play written by James Walter and produced by that eminent showman David Belasco first in 1909. It was most typical of the Edwardian era morality works that Belasco so favored.

It could never be done today, in fact it was barely acceptable in 1931 for its incredibly anti-feminist stand. According to the character played by Marjorie Rambeau men rule, make said rules, and women just have to deal with it. Submit cheerfully to being wives and mothers with some occasional outside work if you can fit it in.

Constance Bennett with her small job in a department store doesn't think this is all that's for her. She help supports her parents J. Farrell MacDonald and Clara Blandick and a couple of small brothers. Sister Anita Page is getting ready to marry honest laundry man Clark Gable who has some most chauvinistic views about women, but also about the value of honesty and hard work.

So when advertising executive Adolphe Menjou suggest to Bennett that they shack up, she's ready to take The Easiest Way and go for a life of luxury. That is until she meets newspaperman Robert Montgomery who's ready to marry her once he gets back from a long assignment in Argentina.

Without going into details Bennett makes a holy hash of her life and those tried and true standards of the time for women serve as a lesson to her and all in the audience. Be good wives and mothers and don't take The Easiest Way to prosperity.

The original play only had six characters and so it was expanded considerably at MGM and updated to Depression times where such lessons were not completely appreciated. Still this cast did manage to put it over.

The Easiest Way was the first film at MGM for Clark Gable who was billed eighth down in the cast. By the end of the decade Gable was acknowledged King of Hollywood before Elvis was known as the King. Nearly all the players billed above him would be below him in cast lists in the future. His appeal on the screen was immediately discernible and in the end of this film, he's given a bit of humanity and shown as not the blue nose stinker you might originally have thought him to be.

The Easiest Way is way old fashioned for today, I doubt too many stock companies do the original play today. Still some will find it a curiosity and Gable is always good to watch.


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