Easy Living


1h 17m 1949
Easy Living

Brief Synopsis

An aging football star risks his health when his greedy wife won't let him retire.

Film Details

Also Known As
Education of the Heart, Interference
Genre
Drama
Sports
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Oct 8, 1949
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Chicago--Wrigley Field, Illinois, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 17m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,953ft

Synopsis

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.

Cast

Victor Mature

Pete Wilson

Lucille Ball

Anne

Lizabeth Scott

Liza Wilson

Sonny Tufts

Tim ["Pappy"] McCarr

Lloyd Nolan

Lenahan

Paul Stewart

[Dan] Argus

Jack Paar

Scoop Spooner

Jeff Donnell

Penny McCarr

Art Baker

Howard Vollmer

Gordon Jones

Bill ["Holly"] Holloran

Don Beddoe

Jaegar

Dick Erdman

Buddy Morgan

William "bill" Phillips

Ozzie

Charles Lang

Whitey

Kenny Washington

Benny

Julia Dean

Mrs. Belly Ryan

Everett Glass

Virgil Ryan

James Backus

Dr. Franklin

Robert Ellis

Urchin

Steven Flagg

Gilbert Vollmer

Alex Sharp

Don

Russ Thorson

Hunk Edwards

June Bright

Billy Duane

Edward Kotal

Curly

Audrey Young

Singer

The Los Angeles Rams

Steve Bogarus

Football player

Leslie Horvath

Football player

Tom Fears

Football player

Fred Naumitz

Football player

Dante Magnani

Bill ["Holly"] Holloran

Jack Banta

Football player

Don Paul

Football player

Howard W. Hickey

Football player

Gilbert J. Bouley

Football player

C. Fred Gehrke

Football player

Richard W. Huffman

Football player

Gerard Cowhig

Football player

Robert "buddy" Shaw

Football player

John Zilly

Football player

Gene M. Ruszkowski

Football player

Franklin Hubbell

Football player

Roger Eason

Football player

William L. Nelson

Bill ["Holly"] Holloran

Carl Samuelson

Football player

John T. Martin

Football player

Bill Smyth

Football player

Milan Lazetch

Football player

W. J. O'brien

Vendor

Gene Leslie

Vendor

Robert Graham

Urchin

Warren Schannon

Urchin

Jackie Jackson

Urchin

Alan Dinehart Iii

Urchin

Brick Sullivan

Policeman

Ray George

Referee

Dick Ryan

Bartender

Steve Crandall

Reporter

Albin Robeling

Chef

Erin Selwyn

Nurse

William Erwin

Carl Saxe

Videos

Movie Clip

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Also Known As
Education of the Heart, Interference
Genre
Drama
Sports
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Oct 8, 1949
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Chicago--Wrigley Field, Illinois, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 17m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,953ft

Articles

Easy Living (1949)


Living was anything but easy for Lucille Ball when she made the 1949 sports drama, Easy Living. In fact, she was in the middle of a career slump when she agreed to take a secondary role as the sympathetic other woman, a secretary in love with aging football star Victor Mature. Ironically, the day before she started filming, her luck had already changed. She just didn't realize it at the time.

Easy Living was a homecoming of sorts for the star. She had started her career at RKO Studios, rising from bit player to leading lady, before leaving for MGM in hopes of stardom. MGM hadn't known quite what to do with a beautiful slapstick comic, however. After a few years of stealing films in supporting roles and providing glamorous set dressing in their musicals, MGM let her go. But freelancing in late '40s Hollywood was hardly a picnic. With few decent film roles, Ball had signed on for a tour in Elmer Rice's hit comedy Dream Girl. The production brought rave reviews and whetted her appetite for working in front of live audiences, but when she was hit with an incurable virus shortly after the Los Angeles opening, it cut the production short, depriving her of a much needed career boost. Ball considered herself lucky to land her less than stellar role in Easy Living.

By this point, she had started appearing on radio to pay the bills. The head of CBS' radio network was impressed with her comic skills and began looking for a comedy series for her. When she turned down Our Miss Brooks, suggesting that her friend Eve Arden was better suited for the role of a wise-cracking high-school teacher, the network offered her the role of a bank executive's wacky wife in My Favorite Husband. The pilot was rushed onto the air with little fanfare because Our Miss Brooks wasn't ready, but it scored a surprise hit nonetheless. While the network started putting the rest of the series together, Ball returned to RKO for what would be her last film there.

Seven years earlier Ball had bid farewell to her RKO contract with Seven Days' Leave (1942), which also had paired her with Mature. At the time, however, her leading man, on loan from 20th Century-Fox, was angry that RKO hadn't borrowed his current girlfriend, Rita Hayworth, to star opposite him. He took out his disappointment on Ball, whispering obscene words to her during their love scenes and making lewd gestures just out of camera range. Many days she had fled to her dressing room in tears after the director called, "Print!" Mature was a little more settled on Easy Living, however, having recently married for the third time. His career would take off later in the year when Samson and Delilah became 1949's top-grossing film.

By the time Ball returned to RKO, the studio was also facing hard times. With Howard Hughes now its owner, the studio's star roster had dwindled since the days when Ball had been happy to support the likes of Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. Instead, the studio had only one bonafide star in Robert Mitchum, often borrowing actors like Mature and leading lady Lizabeth Scott (as Mature's greedy wife) to fill out its casts. Two first-class talents remaining on the lot were director Jacques Tourneur, the man behind such stylish films as Cat People (1942) and Out of the Past (1947), and cinematographer Harry J. Wild, who had shot such acclaimed films noirs as Murder, My Sweet (1944) and Cornered (1945). They helped give Easy Living a glossy surface that showed off Ball's and Scott's contrasting physical appeal effectively.

That wasn't enough for audiences, however, who found a football film that spent most of its time in locker rooms and apartments (Tourneur had never even seen a football game when he accepted the assignment) barely worth their time. Easy Living did poorly at the box office, though Ball could content herself with garnering the picture's best reviews. More important to her career, however, was the success of My Favorite Husband on radio and the better box office performance of another film she made in 1949, the slapstick comedy Miss Grant Takes Richmond, both of which pointed to her future as one of television's greatest comediennes.

Producer: Robert Sparks
Director: Jacques Tourneur
Screenplay: Charles Schnee
Based on the story "Education of the Heart" by Irwin Shaw Cinematography: Harry Wild
Art Direction: Albert S. D'Agostino, Alfred Herman
Music: Roy Webb
Cast: Victor Mature (Pete Wilson), Lizabeth Scott (Liza Wilson), Sonny Tufts (Tim McCarr), Lucille Ball (Anne), Lloyd Nolan (Lenahan), Paul Stewart (Argus), Jack Paar (Scoop Spooner), Jeff Donnell (Penny McCarr), Don Beddoe (Jaegar), Charles Lang (Whitey), Jim Backus (Dr. Franklin). BW-77m. Closed captioning.

by Frank Miller
Easy Living (1949)

Easy Living (1949)

Living was anything but easy for Lucille Ball when she made the 1949 sports drama, Easy Living. In fact, she was in the middle of a career slump when she agreed to take a secondary role as the sympathetic other woman, a secretary in love with aging football star Victor Mature. Ironically, the day before she started filming, her luck had already changed. She just didn't realize it at the time. Easy Living was a homecoming of sorts for the star. She had started her career at RKO Studios, rising from bit player to leading lady, before leaving for MGM in hopes of stardom. MGM hadn't known quite what to do with a beautiful slapstick comic, however. After a few years of stealing films in supporting roles and providing glamorous set dressing in their musicals, MGM let her go. But freelancing in late '40s Hollywood was hardly a picnic. With few decent film roles, Ball had signed on for a tour in Elmer Rice's hit comedy Dream Girl. The production brought rave reviews and whetted her appetite for working in front of live audiences, but when she was hit with an incurable virus shortly after the Los Angeles opening, it cut the production short, depriving her of a much needed career boost. Ball considered herself lucky to land her less than stellar role in Easy Living. By this point, she had started appearing on radio to pay the bills. The head of CBS' radio network was impressed with her comic skills and began looking for a comedy series for her. When she turned down Our Miss Brooks, suggesting that her friend Eve Arden was better suited for the role of a wise-cracking high-school teacher, the network offered her the role of a bank executive's wacky wife in My Favorite Husband. The pilot was rushed onto the air with little fanfare because Our Miss Brooks wasn't ready, but it scored a surprise hit nonetheless. While the network started putting the rest of the series together, Ball returned to RKO for what would be her last film there. Seven years earlier Ball had bid farewell to her RKO contract with Seven Days' Leave (1942), which also had paired her with Mature. At the time, however, her leading man, on loan from 20th Century-Fox, was angry that RKO hadn't borrowed his current girlfriend, Rita Hayworth, to star opposite him. He took out his disappointment on Ball, whispering obscene words to her during their love scenes and making lewd gestures just out of camera range. Many days she had fled to her dressing room in tears after the director called, "Print!" Mature was a little more settled on Easy Living, however, having recently married for the third time. His career would take off later in the year when Samson and Delilah became 1949's top-grossing film. By the time Ball returned to RKO, the studio was also facing hard times. With Howard Hughes now its owner, the studio's star roster had dwindled since the days when Ball had been happy to support the likes of Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. Instead, the studio had only one bonafide star in Robert Mitchum, often borrowing actors like Mature and leading lady Lizabeth Scott (as Mature's greedy wife) to fill out its casts. Two first-class talents remaining on the lot were director Jacques Tourneur, the man behind such stylish films as Cat People (1942) and Out of the Past (1947), and cinematographer Harry J. Wild, who had shot such acclaimed films noirs as Murder, My Sweet (1944) and Cornered (1945). They helped give Easy Living a glossy surface that showed off Ball's and Scott's contrasting physical appeal effectively. That wasn't enough for audiences, however, who found a football film that spent most of its time in locker rooms and apartments (Tourneur had never even seen a football game when he accepted the assignment) barely worth their time. Easy Living did poorly at the box office, though Ball could content herself with garnering the picture's best reviews. More important to her career, however, was the success of My Favorite Husband on radio and the better box office performance of another film she made in 1949, the slapstick comedy Miss Grant Takes Richmond, both of which pointed to her future as one of television's greatest comediennes. Producer: Robert Sparks Director: Jacques Tourneur Screenplay: Charles Schnee Based on the story "Education of the Heart" by Irwin Shaw Cinematography: Harry Wild Art Direction: Albert S. D'Agostino, Alfred Herman Music: Roy Webb Cast: Victor Mature (Pete Wilson), Lizabeth Scott (Liza Wilson), Sonny Tufts (Tim McCarr), Lucille Ball (Anne), Lloyd Nolan (Lenahan), Paul Stewart (Argus), Jack Paar (Scoop Spooner), Jeff Donnell (Penny McCarr), Don Beddoe (Jaegar), Charles Lang (Whitey), Jim Backus (Dr. Franklin). BW-77m. Closed captioning. by Frank Miller

Quotes

Trivia

Jacques Tourneur never saw a football game prior to working on this movie.

Notes

The working titles of this film were Education of the Heart and Interference. Education of the Heart was also the title of Irwin Shaw's unpublished story. In May 1948, Los Angeles Times announced that Jane Greer would be starring in this picture, the first since the birth of her baby. RKO borrowed Victor Mature from Twentieth Century-Fox for the production and Lucille Ball and Lizabeth Scott from Hal Wallis' company. Easy Living was the first film that Ball, who had been a contract player at RKO during the 1930s, made at the studio following a seven-year absence. According to Hollywood Reporter, June Bright, who plays the suicidal model in the film, was a model in real life, appearing on the covers of many magazines.
       According to an unidentified July 1948 news item contained in the file for the film at the AMPAS Library, director Jacques Tourneur, a Frenchman, had never seen a football game before working on this picture. The same item notes that some scenes were to be shot at Wrigley Field in Chicago, IL. Kenny Washington, who plays "Benny" in the picture, was a former Los Angeles Ram halfback and was well known as the first of two African Americans to play for the National Football League. Woody Strode, who also became an actor, was the other.