Monday, May 3, 2010
Movie Review Monday~ The Lady Eve (1941)
HE LADY EVE (1941)
DIRECTED BY: PRESTON STURGES
STARRING: HENRY FONDA and BARBARA STANWYCK
Preston Sturges comedies are some of my absolute favorites. They were years ahead of their time, reveling in subject matter that was lighthearted and sexy, while at the same time controversial. My favorite of his films is still The Miracle of Morgan's Creek, which I recently reviewed for Vintage Life Magazine (was that some sleezy name-dropping or what?). This film, The Lady Eve, stars Stanwyck as a vampy con-woman out to 'fleece' rich men on a steamship, using her formidable 'card-playing' skills. Henry Fonda plays Charlie Pike, the naive young man she captivates and who promptly wins her genuine affections. Of course there is the inevitable break-up when Fonda realizes that Stanwyck's original intentions were less than honorable. In spite of their feelings, the couple splits up and over the passage of time, truly seem to have forgotten one another. That is, until Charlie is introduced to society lady 'Eve', who is a dead ringer for his lost love! Old feelings are awakened and a twisted love affair ensues, leaving the couple in turmoil and the audience in stitches.
Sturges' dialogue is always witty, always intelligent,and unfailingly entertaining. The romantic and electric first moments between the couple when they meet are some of the best that I've seen from the genre, and truly proved that Fonda could hold his own in lighthearted fare of this kind. Stanwyck is at her best here, in that same off-beat quick tongued style of the day. Her quick witted delivery of those excellent lines are one of the things that made her a tour-de-force of classic American Cinema. I can't wait to see this one again and would certainly recommend not only this film, but Sturges' entire film catalogue.
Style Factor: How can you go wrong? Stanwyck had some deady locks to play with and her hairstyles throughout this film are well executed and suitable to her lovely features.
I especially love the way this darling cap sits behind her fluff bangs, lending a casually charming atmosphere to the whole ensemble. Costumes by Edith Head can NEVER be faulted either.