Easy Living (1949) Poster

(1949)

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6/10
Doesn't measure up to Victor Mature's chest
dinky-414 January 2003
There are two stories here. The stronger one deals with a quarterback for the New York Chiefs pushed toward retirement by a heart murmur. This story offers interesting glimpses at the state of professional football, circa 1949. The team takes the train to "away" games, for instance, and it seems to have only one black player. And get this --making the Championship Playoffs means at least an extra $1000 for every man on the team! (But this was in an era of nickel pay-phone calls, when college football coaches made $3200 a year.)

The other story centers on the quarterback's troubled relationship with his ambitious, social-climbing wife who's not above using her seductive charm to make a success of her interior decorating business. Here again there are intriguing insights into the world of 1949, where "uppity" women had to be taken down a notch or two lest they forget their proper roles as wives and mothers.

These two stories don't merge particularly well, resulting in an awkward blend of "locker room" and "Park Avenue," and the ending seems forced and unconvincing. (This may have been due to the Production Code's dim view of divorce.) However, the cast still makes the movie worth a look, with solid work from Lucille Ball, Lloyd Nolan, Jim Backus, Art Baker, Jack Paar, etc. Lizabeth Scott -- she of the spectacular eyebrows -- seems a tad "overheated" as the self-centered wife but the script probably forced this kind of performance. Victor Mature has the better part and he acquits himself in adequate fashion. In his locker room scene he gets to strip off his shirt and thus reveal one of the great torsos in the movies. (And how gloriously it was soon to be whipped and otherwise tortured in such films as "Samson and Delilah," "The Robe," "Zarak," and "Timbuktu.") Too bad the movie as a whole isn't equal to its star's chest measurement.
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Not So Easy Living
gvb090725 July 2002
Pete Wilson, also known as King Football, faces a dual crisis. Diagnosed with a serious heart ailment, he learns his career is over. Wilson also must break the news to his star-struck wife, who enjoys the spotlight even more than he does.

"Easy Living" is of course an ironic title. Wilson's life, as a quarterback and as a husband, is anything but easy. As the story evolves, he must come to terms with both the loss of his livelihood and the possible end of his marriage. Victor Mature, who played gladiators both ancient and modern, does his best but he isn't quite up to the emotional demands of the role. And Lizabeth Scott, ever the ice princess, never comes across as Wilson's wife. The supporting cast, featuring Lloyd Nolan as the head coach and Lucille Ball as his son's widow, is generally stronger. Jack Paar, in one of his rare film roles, pops up as the team's PR man.

The film's climax, in which Wilson slaps his wife in desperation, could never be made today but still was acceptable in 1949. Frankly though, you can't help share Wilson's frustration with this frivolous woman and you have to wonder what you would do in his place.

Highly recommended, both as a study of mid-century social attitudes and for an early Hollywood view of the NFL
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8/10
Surprisingly textured drama, set in world of pro football, from Jacques Tourneur
bmacv18 October 2002
Easy Living is not a light comedy, despite the presence of Lucille Ball, Jim Backus and Jack Paar. Neither is it really a sports movie, though it's set in the world of professional football. Irwin Shaw wrote the novel on which it's based – the story of a man who's approaching midlife knowing nothing but how to play ball. The movie version proves surprisingly textured and involving, which ought not to be surprising, as the director is the ever resourceful Jacques Tourneur.

Victor Mature is a New York gridiron hero whose game is starting to slow down; in fact, he finds out he has a heart ailment which spells early death if he keeps on playing. But his quest for a cushy coaching job is handicapped by his ambitious wife (Lizabeth Scott). She's not cut out for the den-mother duties a coach's wife must shoulder, as she's trying to make a success of her interior design business despite her own handicap of commanding neither taste nor talent – a handicap she overcomes by luring monied clients romantically. So in addition to his health and career crises, Mature faces a marital one as well.

The large cast includes Lloyd Nolan as the club's owner and Lucille Ball as his widowed daughter-in-law, who works for the team and nurtures a crush on Mature. Tourneur shows his craft in coaxing a subdued and touching performance from her; he surpasses that by drawing from Scott, especially in a self-pitying drunk scene, the only piece of real acting she ever committed to film.

Easy living ends too abruptly (it clocks in at only 78 minutes) but there's nary a false note or a slack stretch in it. Made near the peak of the noir cycle, which accounts for its minor-key tonality (the score, by the way, is by Roy Webb), it springs yet another surprise in being one of the first films to find a dark side in that American institution, professional football.
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6/10
King Football's Game Goes Bad
bkoganbing14 April 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I'm sure someone can research and find earlier films on the subject, but Easy Living is the one that is the earliest I've come across having professional football as a background. Victor Mature plays a football player whose game has gone bad because he's developed a heart murmur, but like a dope he doesn't tell anyone.

Not that he couldn't live a nice normal life, but rough contact sports are definitely out. But Mature is married to former campus queen Lizabeth Scott who is an interior designer of limited talent, but has a few admirers in high society for her other attributes. She's got a business established being financed by a rich sugar daddy in the person of Art Baker. She needs Baker's money and location in New York, not to mention the status of being a celebrity wife. Professional football was starting to come into its own post World War II and Mature has been given the nickname of 'King Football' by the press stimulated by his team's publicity agent, Jack Paar.

Lizabeth Scott is one evil vixen and Mature has the widowed daughter-in- law of his coach Lloyd Nolan, Lucille Ball who would be a more suitable mate. Why in the end he just delivers a couple of well placed slaps to Scott and takes her back is one bizarre ending. And today it would never be put in any film lest the National Organization for Women picket it.

To its credit Easy Living has some good performances from Gordon Jones as another washed up teammate of Mature, Sonny Tufts as Mature's best friend, and Richard Erdman as the clubhouse man for the team. One of the earliest black football players in the National Football League, Kenny Washington is in the film as well. He and teammate Woody Strode were the first to integrate pro football and both of course had successful acting careers, Strode a bit more so.

Best performance to watch is that of Art Baker as the rich old goat who likes to collect beautiful women as trophies whether they have a ring or not. He's one studied piece of work.

You have to laugh when Lloyd Nolan says his team is busy fighting for the league playoffs and championship which will be worth $100,000.00 and a $1000.00 to every member of the team. Have times ever changed, for comparison run this film back to back with Oliver Stone's Any Given Sunday and see what they're playing for.
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Overlooked
dougdoepke8 December 2007
1949 sleeper from RKO. At that early date pro football was still in its infancy. Thus a movie dealing with the subject must have seemed like a piece of exotica and I doubt the production made any money. Sixty years later, however, the Charles Schnee script and Jaques Tourneur direction stand as a perceptive glimpse into pro-sports at the high end, as valid now as then and definitely ahead of its time.

Star quarterback Victor Mature is a regular guy, but is drawn into the fast lane by ambitious wife Liz Scott. She's all glamor and ego, eager to hang on to her headline husband. The scenes of urban highlife and sophistication are particularly well done-- the penthouses and sleekly groomed sharks swimming around eyeing new prey. Vic's uncomfortable and senses glamorous snares, but Liz sees only social climbing opportunity, while souless, silver fox Art Baker is only too happy to oblige. In a word she strays.

On the other hand, good guy Sonny Tufts (in a tailor made part) and salt-of-the-earth wife Jeff Donnell represent the other side of Mature-- his down-to-earth side. He's drawn in both directions, and it's this conflict that sets the dramatic stage. Will he hang on to Liz and the easy life or settle for a meagre coaching job with pal Tufts. He'll have to decide because the old ticker has become a problem. In short, he's facing a crisis of values.

One scene really worth noting. The team has cut journeyman lineman Gordon Jones. He's the kind of player who eats dirt every week so the quarterback can look good. Behind him are a thousand more grunts waiting to take his place. Now he wants a piece of a tavern and a place to hang his jersey and maybe a little dignity for all the pain. Watch his quick, knowing reactions to the snobbish Liz as she ignores this "loser". What a great line when he refuses the ride next to her, saying, "The subway's good enough for me". It's a whole little morality play summed up in a few seconds.

Unfortunately the film shows its period with an unsatisfactory Hollywood ending consistent with the conventions of the day, and enough to make modern-day feminists apoplectic. Then too, the Lucille Ball role seems overdrawn and unnecessary. Nonetheless, the supporting cast is outstanding, blending easily into a smoothly executed production that again demonstrates the industry's polished level of professionalism. Definitely deserves a second look.
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8/10
I love this film despite it being far from politically correct!
MartinHafer14 July 2007
Victor Mature plays the star quarterback of the Rams and he's on top of the world. Unfortunately, after feeling some twinges, his doctor discovers Vic has a heart defect and might easily die if he continues playing. Well, at first it's a no-brainer, as he plans on retiring and taking up coaching. Unfortunately, these plans are put on hold when he tries to tell his selfish shrew of a wife (Lizabeth Scott) about this. She makes it VERY clear that she loves him because of all the money and glory he gets from football AND if he were to quit, she might just walk! Nice lady, huh?! Lucille Ball plays a supporting role as a nice lady who deeply cares for Vic and is just waiting in case the marriage fizzles. However, how all this marital discord is finally solved is amazing and could NEVER be done in films today, as Vic finally gets sick of Lizabeth's petulant ways and slaps her silly--saying to either shut up and stay or walk!!! This is a small picture with a modest cast and budget, but I have really enjoyed watching it repeatedly. Part of it is because there are few films about pro football (especially when this one was made) and because as I watch the big climax scene between Victor Mature and Lizabeth Scott, I love to imagine the horror on many viewers faces as they see Vic slap his awful wife right in the face! Believe me, most viewers will probably LIKE seeing this, as she's one of the most selfish and awful wives in film history. Now I am NOT recommending men slug their wives, but in this age of extreme political correctness, I occasionally like to see a film that is sure to offend a lot of high-strung viewers! If you take out this possibly offensive scene, it's still a dandy movie--well worth a look. An interesting story and one of Mature's better films.
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9/10
Realistic Drama When Football Was Still a Sport.
vitaleralphlouis23 August 2007
EASY LIVING takes you back to major league football circa 1949 and focuses on a star performer just before and after his career tops out. The direction is first rate and all the actors deliver top performances --- particularly Victor Mature, Lizabeth Scott, Lloyd Nolan and Lucille Ball. Lucy didn't always play comedy; no comedy in this one. On location filming --- a common asset to RKO Radio pictures --- adds a lot to this one. This Irwin Shaw drama doesn't have much football in it, but instead focuses on the lives of the people involved in sports.

First seen in 1949 at age 11, I looked for it again at Video Vault. It was issued in VHS so you can buy it or rent it if you look. Incidentally, RKO pictures weren't usually big hits 50 years ago but are sought after these days for their grit and on location filming. Savvy sellers in eBay include RKO in their headline.

Final comment: Unlike 2007's major hits like Pirates #3 and Potter #5, this film has an actual story, beginning, middle, end ---not relying on an overpowering musical score to sugarcoat junk. It's apt to appeal to grown-ups --- actually 11 and up.
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6/10
Convoluted -- Contextually and Conversationally
hoophog200326 November 2011
It is difficult to determine where this story is set -- period. The sports team in "Easy Living" is the Chiefs, the helmets worn by this teams are those of the Rams, but yet this team (and ultimately, this story) is based in New York City.

Well, the Kansas City Chiefs began as the Dallas Texans and never existed as a franchise in New York City. The St. Louis Rams, and their iconic ram horn helmet design, has only been seen in three markets, Cleveland, Los Angeles and St. Louis. Again, a club that was never in New York City.

It is also more than odd that the main character, a quarterback, wears number 66, not a customary number for a quarterback to wear. But, it is this lack of accurate detailing that reveals a project mired in vagaries.

These type of historical inaccuracies reveal a more deep-seated lack of focus from this film. Despite its promise, Easy Living just lacks any type of focus. The plot slides around seemingly unsure of where it wants to go or needs to go. primarily, the essential points in the plot development are buried behind a lot of pointless distractions...and characters.

This perpetually 'out-of-focus' plot is enhanced by dialog which is trite, and contrived. It seems the writers of this screenplay were hellbent on being melodramatic and vague.

The movie seems to starts somewhere in the middle. Unfortunately, Easy Living runs like a stage play that is missing too many essential scenes, not just the beginning!
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6/10
A weak drama
Ilya Mauter28 May 2003
Easy Living is based on a story Education of the Heart by Irving Shaw, who was previously in 1942 nominated for the Academy Awards for co-writing the screen play of George Stevens' The Talk of the Town, and directed by Jacques Tourneur best remembered for his Horror and Film-Noir classics such as Cat People and Out of the Past.

Easy Living is basically a story of a struggle in life of Pete Wilson (played by Victor Mature). He is the highest paid professional football player in the league, who knows nothing in life except to play football. His life is apparently settled, he is married to a beautiful woman Liza (Lizabeth Scott), owns a nice home etc., his future looks bright till the day when a serious heart ailment is discovered after a medical test which may result in fatal consequences in case Pete continues to play football. All his world falls apart beginning with his marriage to Liza who now shows her real interests in marriage to Pete being the easy living provided with the money he earns as a football player, an occupation he is unable to continue anymore by obvious reasons.

Overall it's a weak drama in all of its aspects: the story, the acting and even directing from otherwise brilliant Jacques Tourneur.

A very boring, though not very long (the duration of film being 77 minutes) viewing experience. 5/10
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7/10
One of the most down-beat movies I've ever seen
David (Handlinghandel)1 October 2006
Victor Mature, dour as always, is a pro football player. He ought to have hung it up long ago, and he knows it. He is married to Lizabeth Scott. Scott is very ambitious. Of course, today her ambition would seem quite logical. In 1949, it was still a little unusual for a woman not to be content with hubby's income and prestige.

These two are an odd pair. That's an aside, having little to do with whether or not the movie works -- and I do think it does.

Lloyd Nolan is excellent as the coach. Lucille Ball gives a subdued performance as his secretary.

Almost no one in this movie has what or who he or she wants. A gloom hangs over it.

Jacques Tourneur was an excellent director. This isn't his best. But I have a feeling it was a bit of a challenge for him -- a very all-American setting and plot. And he brings it off beautifully.
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6/10
Could've Been Much Better
keylight-49 June 2007
One reviewer on IMDb described this film as "blah", and I think that sums it up very well. This is a movie that could've been really good, even great, but was hampered by a lame script and, in my opinion, poor direction and heavy-handed acting. Victor Mature and Lizabeth Scott are not two of my favorites, anyway, but I do think they were well-cast as the aging football player, Pete Wilson, and his selfish, social-climbing wife, Liza. Even reliable veteran actors Lloyd Nolan and Paul Stewart couldn't do much with their roles. Everybody seemed to be overacting, maybe to compensate for the lackluster script. It's really a shame, because it was an unusual and interesting storyline and should have had more depth than it did. I also thought the Lucille Ball character was corny and clichéd: the "nice girl", albeit cynical and disillusioned, who loves Pete from afar -- sort of a poor man's Eve Arden.

There was one scene that was a little gem, though, in my book. "Pete" has just come out of the dressing room after a game and is sitting in his car with "Liza". One of his teammates has just been cut from the team, and is very depressed. He stops to say goodbye to Pete, who's very sympathetic and tries to cheer the guy up. Liza sits in the car putting on lipstick, pointedly ignoring the downcast man. Then when he gets ready to leave, he tells her it was nice meeting her, or some such thing, and she replies in a flippant, dismissive tone, "Goodbye", and looks away, as if to say, You don't matter, and I have no time for you. Then she tells Pete that the guy "isn't a real man" because he can't play ball anymore. This, of course, is a blow to Pete, who is hiding the fact that his own career is coming to an end because of a heart problem that he hasn't even told her about. It's a nice snapshot of Liza's character.

All in all, watching Easy Living is like being served vanilla sherbet for dessert when what you really wanted was Rocky Road ice cream.
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3/10
I Guess 'Blah' Is The Best Word To Describe This
ccthemovieman-15 January 2007
This is a short story about a football quarterback who finds he has heart trouble and will not be able to play again without great risk.

To be honest, it's a very forgettable movie despite the decent cast of Victor Mature, Lucille Ball, Lizabeth Scott, Lloyd Nolan and Paul Stewart. The film was just kind of blah: it was watchable but not interesting enough for me to see it again, although maybe I would enjoy this more today knowing the actors better. When I first looked at this, I was pretty new to classic films. Then again, the throaty Scott playing a social-climbing wife is not worth seeing again. Scott was better suited for film noirs.

Personally, I wouldn't waste your time on this. The film just doesn't have any spark to it. As I said, it's too blah, or "gloomy" as one critic here put it.
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7/10
Slap in the face
seadogsal19 January 2000
How interesting to see the difference in our society then versus now! When Liza receives her two slaps at the end of the movie, one more or less as punishment for things done and one to sort of set her straight, I wonder what the reactions were in audiences at the theaters. Today I suppose there would be an uproar over this for many reasons. On the other hand, we all need a "slap in the face" sometimes - male or female. Whenever we cross over that line, the one that separates my "rights" from the way we should treat others, we're elevating ourselves above everyone else. When we act like spoiled little children maybe it's okay to be treated like them? As most parents recognize (or should), their are times when the correct amount of corporal punishment administered with love is the best treatment for the lives they are shaping. Everyone should note the circumstances under which Victor's character slapped his wife, and that he did it because he loved her and wanted to save their marriage.
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7/10
When we used to fight we ended up laughing.. Now when we fight we end up ugly
sol17 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
***SPOILERS*** 1940's and 50's Hollywood hunk Victor Mature plays star football quarterback Peter Wilson of the New York Cheifs, who are actually played by the Los Anegles Rams, who at the height of his professional football career finds out from cardiologist Dr.Franklin, Jim Backes,that his ticker or heart is in danger of conking out at any given moment! Especially when he's on the gridiron pitching passes to his Chief teammates! It seems Dr.Franklin tells him that Pete suffered from a bout rheumatic fever as a child that damaged his heart and it's now finally catching up with him! Keeping all this secret Pete continues to play football but his performance is anything then what it used to be with him avoiding physical contact at all costs.

It's the Chief's coach Lenahan,Llyod Noland, who finally benches Pete due to his poor performance but it's his daughter and personal secretary Anne Lehahan Lucille Ball, who finds out what Pete's real problem is and tries to get him to quit football. That's before he ends up dead of a heart attack like her former good for nothing alcoholic husband did. Anne has taken a strong liking to Pete and would like nothing better for him to tie the knot with her but there's one's big problem in all that! Pete's social climbing wife the sexy husky voiced Liza, Lizabeth Scott, who's self absorbed in her career as a interior designer. Liza has secretly, behind Pete's back, hooked up with multi millionaire as well as dirty old man Art Baker, Howard Vollmer. It's looking for action Baker who's just stinging Liza along in helping her career in interior design until he uses her up and finds someone younger & better to replace Liza with!

Victor Mature who's not really known for his acting, he once told a reporter that he can't act and stared in over 60 films to prove it, is really good as the fatalistic Pete Wilson who's literally playing his heart out on the football field knowing that any moment it would give out on him. Pete also has to deal with his wife Liza whom he knows would drop him as soon as she finds out that his heart condition would end up making him a has been and put him as well as her out of the spotlight that she craves so much!

***SPOILERS**** Very unconventional ending for a Hollywood movie with Pete finally letting the truth out about his serious heart condition to his both shocked coach and teammates and skipping the big championship game as well as ending his career as a professional football player. We never get know how the game ended but we do know how Pete & his estranged wife Liza got back together again. With Pete or Victor Mature in reviving his "Cave Man" role in "One Million B.C" knocking or slapping some sense into Liza's pretty head in having her drop her big ideas of becoming rich & famous by using him to get her there and just being his wife instead. The wife of a washed up football player and now assistance coach for a non ivy league collage team and for better or for worse genuinely loving him!
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6/10
Not So Easy After All.
Robert J. Maxwell28 July 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Jacques Tourneur directed this surprisingly effective tale of Victor Mature, a major league football player who is King of the Gridiron, until he finds he has a heart murmur that requires his retirement from active playing. It would turn team owner Lloyd Nolan into a figure of frustration and disappointment because he's out to win the championship for the team this year.

Mature is desperately in love with his wife, the ambitious Lizabeth Scott, whose boutique is supported by Mature's salary but who, herself, has little talent. She appears to love him too. She's very demonstrative. But her love is conditional. She would like to see both of them as clones of Donald Trump.

Mature's adoration of his wife precludes his spilling the beans about his heart condition. The best he could hope for after retirement would be an assistant coach at a lowly state university of the kind I was graduated from, and at a much lesser salary. None of this would sit well with Scott, who is indifferent to losers.

However, word gets around and it leads to a public argument and the estrangement of the erstwhile happy couple.

Here's where it gets inventive. For one thing, Lizabeth Scott's character could have been made into Lady MacBeth. Instead, she's given more than one dimension. She's mistaken in many ways but she really DOES love Mature. She gets drunk and sobs when a friend of hers, a model, commits suicide after being disowned by some kind of industrial magnate. The magnate is Art Baker, who may give the most nuanced performance in the film, and the most carefully rendered of his modest career. The guy is unflappable. He seduces Scott and is brutally honest with her from beginning to end of the affair.

There's another figure, and a woman too, who is in love with Mature. Lucille Ball is the wisecracking secretary whom Mature dislike but who takes care of him when he needs caring for.

With that kind of set up -- a man of moral principle, a wife who is a paragon of terpitude, and another upright woman who loves him from afar, the expectable outcome is expectable. Man of principle kicks undeserving wife out on her arse and marries the devoted secretary.

But, no. Mature does decide to not play the last vital game and perhaps die, but he slaps Scott in the face twice and their affection is strong enough that she is now willing to accompany him to that lowly position in the lowly university at the lowly salary. (You may have to gulp down that hurried ending.) That affair with Baker has taught her something. You should never become too attached to anything, especially success, because sooner or later you lose it. OR -- she might have become a closet Buddhist during her estrangement.

The director, Tourneur, did some startling work in Val Lewton's production unit at RKO. This isn't among his best work, but he does bring some subtlety to the project. He sometimes uses dramatic lighting, that doesn't always work. The musical score features a performance of a marvelous jazz standard, "Easy Living," written by Ralph Rainger and Leo Robin for a 1937 film of the same name. The lazy and improbable melody was ironic for having been written during the Great Depression, and it's appropriate here in a story about people who are ready to sacrifice their lives to achieve stardom.

Summing it up, one of the better movies about aging or otherwise-failing football players. Worth watching.
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4/10
The script got tackled somewhere on the one yard line along the way.
mark.waltz10 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Football fans might enjoy this minor drama about a troubled professional player (Victor Mature) facing performance issues and a health crisis as he deals with new wife Lizabeth Scott's rise in the world of fashion. However, the lack of a spark and little else outside of these plot points makes this fairly dull. Scott is glamorous and gets to wear some beautiful outfits, and along with Mature does her best to add some interesting dimensions to her character. However, fans of Lucille Ball will be disappointed to see her wasted in a rather pathetically small role as the secretary to coach Lloyd Nolan, obviously in love with Mature but other than a few vivacious moments really has nothing substantial to do. She has a rather unflattering hairstyle too that doesn't flatter her in any way.

The film is also a bit cruel towards injured or disabled players, showing one player being basically waved away with a pathetic dismissal. Fellow players place crutches in Mature's train berth as a way of reminding him that he's obsolete. The film starts oddly with a scene between fellow player Sonny Tufts and his wife (Jeff Donnell) that does absolutely nothing to develop the plot or get it off the ground. The presence of some familiar faces (Jim Backus, billed as James) and the Los Angeles Rams will add curiosity, but unfortunately, this is a movie about a popular sport that somewhere along the way completely fumbled. Under the direction of the usually excellent Jacques Tourneur, this is a major disappointment.
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9/10
"Easy" living?
JohnHowardReid14 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Director: JACQUES TOURNEUR. Based on the story "Education of the Heart" by Irwin Shaw. Screenplay: Charles Schnee. Art directors: Albert S. D'Agostino, Alfred Herman. Set decorators: Darrell Silvera, Harley Miller. Music: Roy Webb. Music director: C. Bakaleinikoff. Assistant directors: James Lane, Joel Freeman, Nate Slott. Make-up: Robert M. Cowan, Lee Greenway. Costumes: Edward Stevenson. Sound: Earl Wolcott. Camera: Harry J. Wild. Film editor: Frederic Knudtson. Make-up supervisor: Gordon Bau. Special photographic effects: Russell A. Cully. Sound mixer: Clem Portman. RCA Sound System. Producer: Robert Sparks. Copyright 24 August 1949 by RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. New York opening at Loew's Criterion: 12 October 1949. U.S. release: 8 October 1949. U.K. release: 11 September 1950. Australian release: 1 June 1950. 7,061 feet. 77 minutes. Australian release title: INTERFERENCE.

SYNOPSIS: The domestic and career problems of a star football player.

COMMENT: It's not hard to see parallels between this screenplay and Charles Schnee's later script for "The Bad and the Beautiful". The exposé of professional football has much the same virtues (and vices) as that celebrated probe into Hollywood: hard-hitting, realistic-seeming yet very snappy, brittle dialogue; fascinatingly believable yet slightly off-beat characters enmeshed in fast-moving situations they have difficulty controlling.

The "ordinary" characters are often at the mercy of their own attitudes and vices which enable them to be manipulated by more ruthless self-seekers.

On the down side, Schnee has a liking for melodrama. He disguises this tendency much more skillfully here than in "The Bad and Beautiful".

Aided by a team of really professional technicians, Tourneur has directed this picture with remarkable skill. Only the opening breakfast scene with Jeff Donnell strikes a slightly false note. Once we enter the football stadium, the pace rarely slackens.

Aside from Miss Donnell and Mr Backus — both of these performances seem a little forced — the playing is uniformly excellent. Scott and Mature are both perfectly cast (Tourneur keeps Vic's inclination to over-do the eyebrow-raising and forehead-furrowing under admirably tight control).

Lucille Ball has a pleasing (if subsidiary) role as a cynical secretary, whilst the support, led by the forceful Lloyd Nolan, is full of fascinating cameos — far too many to discuss here. As for Sonny Tufts, himself a former footballer, he handles this role with commendable finesse.

OTHER VIEWS: Schnee and Shaw have brilliantly interwoven a downbeat football story with an equally dark drama of manners. Unforgettable players include June Bright as the suicidal Billy, Art Baker an aged playboy, Don Beddoe a penny-pinching manager, Gordon Jones a major league budget casualty.

Professional football is the anything but easy living of the title. It's based on a fine short story by Irwin Shaw called "Education of the Heart". Screenwriter Charles Schnee has expanded this very ably. There are two strong, interweaving plot lines and some memorable characterizations. We always remember the scenes of Holly's dismissal from the team, Paul Stewart's repulsive news photographer, and Art Baker's steely seducer. Indeed, the playing of the entire cast is excellent. Director Jacques Tourneur has taken good advantage of actual location shooting with some fine camera-work by Harry J. Wild. - JHR writing as Charles Freeman.
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8/10
***
edwagreen9 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
When I saw Lucille Ball's name in the cast, I thought I would be in for a bit of comedy but how wrong I was!

It's a basic story of a guy, a football player, on top along with his aggressive and ambitious wife. Victor Mature and Lizabeth Scott appear as the perfect couple. However, when Mature is diagnosed with a heart problem that would end his career, he cannot bring himself to tell his wife since she is now used to high living and not going to some college town as the wife of a football coach.

As owner of the team, Lloyd Nolan is great here. He wants victory and only at the end of the film does Mature let him know the story. As his daughter-in-law, Lucille Ball comes across as the business-like secretary and is widowed and she has romantic designs on Mature.

To me, a flaw in the film was the rapid southward movement of the Mature-Scott marriage. As is true in many films of this nature, solid good sense shall ultimately win out.
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6/10
doesn't hold together
blanche-230 June 2015
When Sonny Tufts is the standout in a film, you know there's a problem.

A caveat - I've never been crazy about Victor Mature. Here at the age of 36 he plays Pete Wilson, a football player at the top of his game - MVP the previous year, the highest paid professional, and his future (at age 36, mind you) is unlimited.

His wife Liza is portrayed by Lizabeth Scott. She seems to be in it for the success, and she doesn't care for the guys on their way out.

Pete's good friend Tim is retiring and going to be coaching at State. Then Pete finds out that he has a heart condition and may not be able to play any longer. What is that going to mean for his marriage and the rest of his life?

One really doesn't know and sadly, one really doesn't care. This film sort of limps along. Lizabeth Scott is wasted in her role, though she is lovely.

As I say, Sonny is a standout, relaxed and looking very handsome.

There needed to be a little more drama in this, I think, to make it poignant. It's already out of my head, and I just saw it.
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8/10
Yeah, Yeah
writers_reign20 April 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I like a lot of things about this movie beginning with Irwin Shaw who wrote the short story (not novel as someone here said mistakenly) on which the screenplay was based, that screenplay itself, the work of Charles Schnee, the direction by Jacques Tourneur, and some, if not all, of the performances. There was no more self-denigrating actor than Victor Mature but occasionally (Kiss of Death and here) he turned out a half-decent performance and here the delight is the people surrounding him, Lloyd Nolan, Paul (yeah, yeah) Stewart, Jim Backus, Art Baker, Jack Paar, it's a feast for minor-player buffs. Lucille Balle pulls off a rare sympathetic role well enough and Lizbeth Scott who is easy to detest is suitably detestable as the ambitious wife of mature. Sonny Tufts was little more than an acting joke but even he makes a decent fist of Mature's nice guy buddy. This is a film I could happily watch again and probably will now that I have it on DVD.
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8/10
the gridiron of 1949
RanchoTuVu30 June 2015
A pro football player (Victor Mature) discovers his days as a pro athlete are numbered when he learns that he has a heart condition. His wife (Lizabeth Scott) has ridden his fame as the face of the franchise up into the upper echelons of society and is unprepared to take on the role of a wife of an assistant coach for a college team since this is the best option left open to her husband given his condition. So the questions are will Mature die on the gridiron or start coaching and dump his socialite aspiring wife, or will she dump him. Lizabeth Scott is perhaps the best reason for watching, as she's in one or two excellent scenes of parties put on and attended by the crowd she would like to join, though there are some telling moments on the field and in the locker room, especially when a veteran lineman gets cut from the team and has limited future prospects. The film does well in portraying the lives and limited careers of pro football players, maybe better than later films have done. The nuances are brought to life by the great director Jacques Tourneur
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