The Lady Eve (1941)

PRESTON STURGES

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB.  USA, 1941.  Paramount Pictures.  Story by , Screenplay by Preston Sturges.  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by , , , , ,.  Production Design by , .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 1941.  Podcast:  My Criterions.  

A simple-minded man, a conniving woman and a snake…where have I heard this one before? The age-old tale of Adam and Eve is given a hilarious modernization in this wonderful comedy by Preston Sturges (the same year he made the classic Sullivan’s Travels), a delightful mix of screwball comedy and genuinely sexy romance. Henry Fonda plays the wallflower millionaire and snake enthusiast who falls in love with bombshell Barbara Stanwyck on a cruise from South America to New York, completely unaware that she’s actually a cardsharp who is out to take him for his cash. She, in turn, genuinely falls in love with him against all expectations and is rejected when she owns up to him about who she really is. Unwilling to let the insult slide, Stanwyck dresses up as a British aristocrat and visits Fonda’s wealthy family in an effort to get revenge and break his heart right back. Sturges’ trademarks, brilliant dialogue and quirky characters, shine bright and beautiful in this wholeheartedly satisfying romantic comedy.

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