TCM finally showed Easy to Wed again, so I can do my “remake comparison post.” The idea of remaking things as musicals didn’t start in the ’50s. No, that trend started a while back, and Easy to Wed is one of the examples from the ’40s. What film was it? Well, something long-time readers will be familiar with: Libeled Lady.
Easy to Wed – The Film
Easy to Wed is pretty much the exact same story as Libeled Lady, though some people are singing since it’s now a musical, and, since Esther Williams is involved, an additional swimming pool or two. I suppose MGM had a crack team of specialist screenwriters entirely devoted to figuring out ways to put Esther Williams in water. The only differences here are the people playing the roles, and even the character names are the same.
Easy to Wed – The Furs
So we have a “Tale of Two Gladys-es,” the first the screen legend Jean Harlow, the second Lucille Ball, who in this film occupies the space between her film and television careers. It seems the people who remade the film felt the need to preserve some, though sadly not all, of the original’s costume direction.
Gladys and Bill Chandler (Van Johnson) get their sham marriage; she starts with this white fox hat. An appetizer, at best, but not unworthy of notice.
In terms of how this film differs from the original, the producers saw fit to present the dinner scene from the original without Esther Williams in a huge white fox cape as Myrna Loy’s Connie Allenbury wore. This was easily the best fur from Libeled Lady, and I’ll throw it up here just to remind everyone.
Gladys is on the phone. In Libeled Lady, we had righty Jean Harlow in chinchilla:
Easy to Wed provides us Lucille Ball as a lefty in ermine. Advantage Libeled Lady.
While Connie didn’t wear a giant white fox cape to dinner, she does get married in this mink:
Finally, we have the core of both films, the furs worn by the 2 Gladys-es during the film’s comedic climaxes. Libeled Lady provided this fox-trimmed beauty with an enormous collar.
Easy to Wed puts Lucy’s Gladys in a fox wrap of some, not-unworthy size. I’m still giving it to Libeled Lady, though.
The end of both films is virtually identical, where Gladys confronts Connie and Bill with the actual status of their marriage, runs to the bedroom, and exits when Bill and Warren (Keenan Wynn) have a brief altercation. Both fade to credits with a 5-way argument, though Easy To Wed adds a mariachi band to the mix. Here’s Myrna Loy and Jean Harlow in the bedroom.
And Here’s Lucille Ball and Esther Williams in the bedroom.
On its own, Easy To Wed isn’t a lousy fur film. The last part with Lucille Ball in the fox wrap is quite lovely. It suffers for the inevitable comparisons to Libeled Lady, though. It should be noted that Gladys is a kind of proto-Lucy (Ricardo), something that some may find a plus, but, simply put, I do not. To be fair, she was the same character when Jean Harlow played her; it’s merely that Harlow didn’t end up playing the same character for the rest of her career.
Fur Runtime: approx 10 minutes
Film Runtime: 106 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 9%