MIDNIGHT
1939, Universal, 94 min, USA, Dir: Mitchell Leisen

A showgirl (Claudette Colbert) impersonating a Baroness, a lovestruck taxi driver (Don Ameche) and a cuckolded millionaire (John Barrymore) are just a few of the ingredients in this frothy concoction penned by Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder and directed with breathless elan by Mitchell Leisen. Costarring Mary Astor, Francis Lederer and gossip queen Hedda Hopper, this delirious riff on the Cinderella story ranks among the greatest of all screwball comedies.


THE MAJOR AND THE MINOR
1942, Universal, 100 min, USA, Dir: Billy Wilder

Billy Wilder made his Hollywood directorial debut with this wartime farce, cowritten with frequent collaborator Charles Brackett. Ginger Rogers sparkles as a woman who masquerades as a 12-year-old girl to travel by train on a child’s fare; Ray Milland is the military man who shelters the youngster.


EASY LIVING
1937, Universal, 88 min, USA, Dir: Mitchell Leisen

Preston Sturges wrote this Depression-era Cinderella story, in which working girl Jean Arthur's fortunes change after she lucks into possession of a rich woman's coat. As those around her assume that what she wears is an indicator of who she is, Arthur climbs the social ladder and eventually falls in love with Ray Milland - the son of the coat's real owner. Sturges' wit is on full display here, given added elegance by Leisen's beautiful direction.


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