Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB. USA, 1941. Paramount Pictures. Story by Monckton Hoffe, Screenplay by Preston Sturges. Cinematography by Victor Milner. Produced by Paul Jones. Music by Phil Boutelje, Charles Bradshaw, Gil Grau, Sigmund Krumgold, John Leipold,Leo Shuken. Production Design by Hans Dreier, Ernst Fegte. Costume Design by Edith Head. Film Editing by Stuart Gilmore. 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.