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The Easiest Way (1931)

Passed | | Drama, Romance | 7 February 1931 (USA)
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 »


Jack Conway


Edith Ellis (adaptation), Eugene Walter (play)


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Complete credited cast:
Constance Bennett ... Laura Murdock
Adolphe Menjou ... William Brockton
Robert Montgomery ... Jack Madison
Anita Page ... Peg Murdock
Marjorie Rambeau ... Elfie St. Clair
J. Farrell MacDonald ... Ben Murdock
Clara Blandick ... Agnes Murdock
Clark Gable ... Nickolas (Nick) Feliki


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


Drama | Romance








Release Date:

7 February 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Vida Fácil See more »


Box Office


$310,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The original play opened on Broadway in New York City at the Belasco Theatre, 111 W. 44th St., on 19 December 1909 and ran for 157 performances. A revival in 1921 ran for 63 performances. See more »


When Jack and Laura are horseback riding, the shadow of the boom microphone is clearly visible as they move through it, after she mentions the "canyons" of New York City. See more »


Elfie: Come in please.
Brockton Associate: Mr. Brockton would like to see Miss Murdock in the office, right away.
Laura Murdock: Oh my goodness, what am I going to do? I'm not dressed!
Elfie: Well, wear a smile and go as you are! I did it once and got a raise.
See more »


Referenced in Caught Plastered (1931) See more »


Adeste Fidelis (O Come All Ye Faithful)
(1751) (uncredited)
Written by John Francis Wade
Played as background music at Christmas time
See more »

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User Reviews

Edwardian Era Belasco Melodrama
11 January 2012 | by bkoganbingSee 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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