Sunday, December 12, 2010

#216 The Lady Eve (1941)


Director: Preston Sturges

Cast: Barbara Stanwyck, Henry Fonda, Charles Coburn, Eugene Pallette, William Demarest, Eric Blore, Melville Cooper, Janet Beecher

Jean Harrington (Stanwyck) is a traveling card-playing con-artist, and she has chosen a new target: Charles Pike (Fonda), scientist and beer fortune heir, returning from study in the Amazon. When the two cross paths on a luxury ocean liner, what begins as a play for Charles' money soon turns into an unexpected romance. As was destined, Charles finds out Jean's true identity and former intentions, and the two split. It's the unexpected, zany circumstances of their reunion that bring laughs and ridiculous comedic drama.

Fonda and Stanwyck are both charming and funny, and the plot is completely silly and good-natured. I find it easy to group in with other romantic comedies of the era, though (like so many of the others) this one stands out on its own for its own set of reasons. Fonda is awkward, silly, and delightful. Stanwyck is saucy, scrumptious, and classic. A fun film for popcorn and a weekend night in.

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