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Easy Living

Easy Living(1949)

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Veteran quarterback Pete Wilson, the star of the New York Chiefs, earns more money than any other player in football and is the toast of the town. Although Pete, who is known in the press as "King Football," has been suffering from dizzy spells and faints during practice one day, he refuses to see the team doctor. Instead he goes with his attractive wife Liza to a party that is being given by wealthy Gilbert Vollmer, a prospective client of Liza's struggling interior decorating company, Liza, Inc. Anxious to make a success of Liza, Inc., in which Pete has invested most of his salary, Liza flirts with both Gilbert and his father Howard. Pete leaves Gilbert's party and goes to one that his longtime friend and fellow player Tim "Pappy" McCarr is hosting in honor of their retiring college coach, Virgil Ryan. There Virgil tells Pete that, because of Liza's ambitious nature, Pete has been passed over as his replacement. Pete's disappointment over the job is heightened when he learns that Tim, who has always been his professional back-up, has been offered the post. The next day, Pete is told that his life insurance company has refused him a policy because of a heart condition its doctor detected during his physical exam. Posing as a salesman, Pete seeks a second opinion from heart specialist Dr. Franklin. Franklin deduces that Pete is an athlete and tells him that unless he wants to die early, he must quit football. Afraid that Liza will reject him for being a "has-been," Pete says nothing about his condition and continues to play. Later, after a particularly bad game, Pete learns from Tim that Virgil wants him to be Tim's assistant coach, but the proud Pete immediately rejects the offer. Liza, meanwhile, encourages the attentions of the philandering Howard, who tells her flatly that she has no taste or talent. When Howard suggests that he can buy her some "talent" and become her "silent partner," the ever-ambitious Liza jumps at the idea. Eager to be with Howard, Liza then refuses to accompany Pete to his next game in Chicago. On the train to Chicago, Anne, the team's wisecracking secretary and Lenahan's widowed daughter-in-law, who has long been infatuated with Pete, confesses her love. After a lonely and depressed Pete allows Anne to kiss him, Anne is given a friendly lecture by Lenahan, the team's owner. Lenahan then lectures Pete about his poor performances and reveals that the other players have dubbed him "King Cripple." For the Chicago game, Lenahan, who is determined to reach the playoffs, replaces Pete with Tim, who leads the team to victory. While returning to New York, some of the players leave a pair of crutches in Pete's train compartment, and Pete slugs Tim in frustration. Later, Pete confides to Liza that he wants to become Tim's assistant, but Liza rejects the notion and announces she is leaving him. When a devastated Pete passes out while drinking at a bar, Anne comes to his rescue and takes him home. The next day, Pete, who confessed his heart condition to Anne while half-drunk, is asked to replace the slightly injured Tim in the next game. Anxious to win back Liza's affection, Pete eagerly accepts the challenge, angering both Anne and Tim, who has learned about Pete's heart from Anne. Liza, meanwhile, is stunned to read about the suicide of Howard's previous conquest, a model whose career he fostered, and realizes that he has already grown bored with her. Suddenly alone, Liza leaves a message for Pete, telling him that she still loves him and will be waiting for him at the game. The next day, Liza informs Pete that she is willing to be an assistant coach's wife, but insinuates that he could soon replace Tim as the head coach. Disgusted by Liza's unbridled ambitions, Pete slaps her, then announces to Lenahan and the team that he is quitting football because of his heart. After Lenahan tells him that he is greatest player he has ever known, Pete finds a weeping Liza, slaps her again and, with a passionate kiss, informs her that she is going to be an assistant coach's wife and nothing more.