Sunday, May 4, 2014

Family Movie Night: The Lady Eve

Title: The Lady Eve
Director: Preston Sturges
Original Release: 1941
Choice: My Wife's
My Overall Rating: 3 stars out of 5
via Wikipedia
The Lady Eve is one of My Wife's favorite movies.  Preston Sturges, who directed and also wrote the screenplay, provides the clever dialogue, Barbara Stanwyck supplies keen wit and a dazzling smile and Henry Fonda performs one of the best prat falls you'll ever see.  Jean Harrington (Stanwyck) and her accomplices are card sharps out to swindle the young, naive and fabulously wealthy Charles Pike (Fonda).  All goes awry, however, when Jean genuinely falls in love with Charles.  Charles discovers her true identity and spurns her.  That's just the beginning of this twisted tale.

The narration of the trailer is a bit, um, dated.  You'll see what I mean if you watch.  Fans of the sitcom My Three Sons will recognize William Demarest, aka Uncle Charley. 


The movie defies many of the conventions of Hollywood romantic comedies.  The two principals are rarely if ever on equal footing, with Jean nearly always in control.  The script pushes the limit of the Hays film code in place at the time and was, in fact, initially rejected by the censors before revisions.  It's a fun movie and certainly well worth your time if you're in the mood for a clever romp.

16 comments:

  1. I don't remember the movie, but thanks for the peek at Uncle Charlie. I haven't seen him in years. :-)
    Deb@ http://debioneille.blogspot.com

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    1. My pleasure, debi! Thanks for stopping by.

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  2. Thanks for the intro to this movie.

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  3. I don't think I have seen this movie either.
    Sounds interesting. But my favorite "Eve" movie is "All About Eve"
    "Fasten your seat belts this is going to be a bumpy night"
    I have always wanted to be someplace where I could say this line.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. And I'm pretty sure I've never seen All about Eve. Well written films are to be treasured.

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  4. I haven't seen this one. I do like Henry Fonda.

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    1. Me, too. 12 Angry Men is my favorite of his.

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  5. A great movie back when women actually had decent roles to play.

    mood
    Moody Writing

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    1. There were a lot of great roles for women in that era. There were plenty of terrible roles, too, though it's interesting that so many of the ones that continue to resonate had great female parts.

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  6. Uncle Charley! I forgot about him. I haven't seen this one, although I love old movies.

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    1. I remember very little about My Three Sons apart from the surprisingly high profile cast and the theme music.

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  7. I've never heard of this one, but it sounds like a milestone in cinema for women.

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    1. I wouldn't say the role is exactly progressive but, as noted in my comment to mood, it is interesting that so many of the films that have survived from that era are ones with great roles for women.

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  8. The film is worth watching for the scene where Barbara Stanwyck narrates all the women on the ship trying to seduce poor hapless Henry Fonda alone. Really if you like screwball comedies you should watch this.

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