The Lady Eve

Movie Information

Film historian Peter Loewer and Pack Library will screen The Lady Eve at 6 p.m on Tuesday, April 12, in the newly renovated Lord Auditorium.
Genre: Screwball Romantic Comedy
Director: Preston Sturges
Starring: Henry Fonda, Barbara Stanwyck, Charles Coburn, William Demarest, Eugene Pallette
Rated: NR

Preston Sturges’ The Lady Eve (1941) marked the writer/director’s move into the realm of the full-blown A picture with A-list stars—Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck—and the Paramount high gloss his first two films had lacked. The result was one of Sturges’ most popular films and probably as close as he ever allowed himself to get to a traditional romantic comedy. Of course, traditional is a very elastic term and this isn’t your standard rom-com—even of that somewhat more sophisticated era. It’s the story of a babe-in-the-woods herpetologist (Fonda) who falls in love—via a shipboard romance—with the daughter (Stanwyck) of a professional card sharp (Charles Coburn). When he finds out the truth about her, he breaks things off, so she decides to get even by masquerading as the Lady Eve Sidwich, getting him to fall for her again, marrying her and then … well, that’s best left to the film itself. I’ve never kept track, but I suspect that Henry Fonda takes more pratfalls in this one film than in the entire rest of his career. And each one is funny.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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