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The Lady Eve (1941)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Romance | 21 March 1941 (USA)
A trio of classy card sharps targets the socially awkward heir to brewery millions for his money, until one of them falls in love with him.

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(screen play: based on a story by),
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
Muggsy
...
Sir Alfred McGlennan Keith
...
Gerald
...
Martha
...
Robert Greig ...
Dora Clement ...
Gertrude
Luis Alberni ...
Pike's Chef
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Storyline

Returning from a year up the Amazon studying snakes, the rich but unsophisticated Charles Pike meets con-artist Jean Harrington on a ship. They fall in love, but a misunderstanding causes them to split on bad terms. To get back at him, Jean disguises herself as an English lady, and comes back to tease and torment him. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Barbara Stanwyck has Henry Fonda Bewitched and Bewildered See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

21 March 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lady Eve  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

With so many people on the set, Preston Sturges dressed eccentrically so that he would stand out. He usually wore either a brightly coloured beret or a hat with a feather in it. This sartorial splendour led to his being dubbed the worst-dressed man in Hollywood. See more »

Goofs

When Eve is presented by her Uncle at the party, she is referred to as "Lady Sidwich", but her actual title is "the Lady Eve Sidwich". See more »

Quotes

Jean Harrington: [spotting Charles] Oh, there he is!
Charles Pike: [entering back among the party guests] I had to change my coat.
Horace Pike: Well, don't knock the table over.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 54th Annual Academy Awards (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

Bridal Chorus (Here Comes the Bride)
(1850) (uncredited)
from "Lohengrin"
Written by Richard Wagner
Variations played at the wedding
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Oh Hopsie"
16 February 2007 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

In this period of Henry Fonda's career, most of the good films was stuff he made away from his studio at 20th Century Fox. The Lady Eve is one of the best examples of that,

With the success that Preston Sturges had with Christmas in July and The Great McGinty the year before, Paramount decided now they could trust Sturges with a big budget and an A list pair of leads. In fact they borrowed Henry Fonda from Darryl Zanuck and signed the then freelancing Barbara Stanwyck.

This was a banner year in the career of Barbara Stanwyck. She did Meet John Doe, The Lady Eve and Ball of Fire in the same year, the last one she got an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. The Lady Eve came first and paved the way for a similar role in Ball of Fire.

She's a street smart dame in both films, in the Lady Eve she's a shill for her conman father Charles Coburn and in Ball of Fire she's a nightclub singer and moll for gangster Dana Andrews. In both films she falls for rather withdrawn, naive, and bookish sort of men who bring out the mother instinct in her. In fact she has similar nicknames for them, Gary Cooper is called Pottsie and Henry Fonda is Hopsie.

Stanwyck, Coburn, and Melville Cooper are a trio of con artists who are looking for a fresh pigeon and they find one in Henry Fonda who is a millionaire's kid. Fonda today would be called a trust fund baby, but he has an interest in science and he's coming back from the Amazon on a boat when meets up with the slick trio.

Of course Stanwyck falls for the shy and bumbling Fonda, but there are many hurdles to overcome before these two find happiness.

This may have been Henry Fonda's best comedy part. And like Joel McCrea in other Preston Sturges films, Fonda does so well in the part because he plays it absolutely straight. No tongue in cheek, no winks at the audience, Fonda plays it straight and sincere.

The usual Preston Sturges stock company is here and prominent in the cast is always William Demarest as the mug that is a kind of bodyguard factotum for Fonda. Hired of course by Eugene Palette in another one of his crotchety millionaire father roles.

Best scene in the film is right at the beginning as Stanwyck analyzes all the moves a lot of the other females on board are using to attract Fonda before she decides on a very direct approach.

The Lady Eve holds up very well as do all of Preston Sturges's work after over 60 years. I do kind of wonder though if Stanwyck can control that streak of larceny in her even though she's marrying a millionaire who can give her anything.


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