The fur coat — all that remains of Vera Caspary’s original story “Easy Living” — lands on Jean Arthur in Preston Sturges’ script.
In case you just tuned in, I’m using Louella Parsons’ May 15, 1944, item on Rouben Mamoulian being replaced as the director of “Laura” to take a meandering look at the making of the film, which was released in Los Angeles in November 1944. So far, we have looked at the early writing career of “Laura” novelist Vera Caspary and four murder mystery films made between 1932 and 1938 based on variations of a story titled “Suburb,” which Caspary sold to the studios eight times before Paramount told her to knock it off.
Further research reveals that Preston Sturges discarded virtually all of Caspary’s original story in writing the screenplay for the 1937 film “Easy Living.” The only plot element he retained was an expensive fur coat. In Caspary’s story, it is stolen by the leading lady; in Sturges’ script, the expensive fur coat is thrown from an apartment terrace and lands on working girl Mary Smith (Jean Arthur), who is passing in an open-air bus.