AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
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Easy Living
Alternate Title: Interference
Director: Jacques Tourneur (Dir)
Release Date:   8 Oct 1949
Production Date:   early Jul--mid-Aug 1948
Duration (in mins):   77
Duration (in feet):   6,953
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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)  
  and 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    

Summary: 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. 

Production Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Distribution Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Jacques Tourneur (Dir)
  James Lane (Asst dir)
  Joel Freeman (Asst dir)
  Nate Slott (Asst dir)
Producer: Robert Sparks (Prod)
Writer: Charles Schnee (Scr)
  Irwin Shaw (Story)
Photography: Harry J. Wild (Dir of photog)
  Charles Straumer (Cam op)
  James Almond (Gaffer)
  Alex Kahle (Stills)
Art Direction: Albert S. D'Agostino (Art dir)
  Alfred Herman (Art dir)
Film Editor: Frederic Knudtson (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Darrell Silvera (Set dec)
  Harley Miller (Set dec)
Costumes: Edward Stevenson (Gowns)
Music: C. Bakaleinikoff (Mus dir)
  Roy Webb (Mus)
Sound: Earl Wolcott (Sd)
  Clem Portman (Sd)
Special Effects: Russell A. Cully (Spec eff)
Make Up: Gordon Bau (Makeup supv)
  Robert M. Cowan (Makeup)
  Lee Greenway (Makeup)
  Carla Hadley (Hairstylist)
  Kay Shea (Hairstylist)
Production Misc: Bill Dorfman (Prod mgr)
  Dick Kinon (Scr supv)
  Jim Curley (Grip)
  Morris West (Grip)
Country: United States

Songs: "Easy Living," music by Ralph Rainger, lyrics by Leo Robin.
Composer: Ralph Rainger
  Leo Robin

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. 24/8/1949 dd/mm/yyyy LP2527

PCA NO: 13305
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: RCA Sound System

 
Genre: Drama
Sub-Genre: Football
 
Subjects (Major): Ambition
  Football
  Heart disease
  Infidelity
  Marriage
  Unrequited love
 
Subjects (Minor): Athletic coaches
  Chicago (IL)
  Drunkenness
  Fathers and sons
  New York City
  Parties
  Physicians
  Secretaries
  Separation (Marital)
  Trains

Note: 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, LAT 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 HR , 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 Jul 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. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   13 Aug 1949.   
Film Daily   11 Aug 49   p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter   8 Jul 47   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   30 Jun 48   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   9 Jul 48   p. 18.
Hollywood Reporter   15 Jul 48   p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter   20 Aug 48   p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter   10 Aug 49   p. 3, 11
Los Angeles Times   1 May 1948.   
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   20 Aug 49   p. 4722.
New York Times   13 Oct 49   p. 33.
Variety   10 Aug 49   p. 8.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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