The Lady Eve is perhaps the perfect movie comedy, with a runaway heiress – or, in this case, heir – double identities, barbed wit, inspired pratfalls, and the Sturges collection of supporting characters. One could ask for no more.
Beer scion Henry Fonda would rather spend his time chasing snakes up exotic rivers than running the family business, until he becomes fascinated with con girl Barbara Stanwyck and her crooked pop, Charles Coburn, on an ocean liner. Of course, she falls for Fonda and then loses him when he learns of her occupation. She gets another chance in the guise of visiting royalty and charms everyone at a reception in her honor, including Fonda’s tycoon father Eugene Pallette.
Our favorite line: after Fonda has most of the formal dinner and drinks spilled on his tux and, finally, on his out-of-season dinner jacket, Pallette intones, “Why don’t you put on a bathing suit!” Well, you have to see it.
The New York Times review of The Lady Eve by Bosley Crowther hailed Preston Sturges as, “the most refreshing new force to hit the American motion pictures in the past five years,” and compared him to French director Rene Claire.
Academy Award Nomination for Best Original Story.
Cast: Barbara Stanwyck, Henry Fonda, Charles Coburn, Eugene Pallette, William Demarest, Eric Blore, Melville Cooper, Martha O’Driscoll, Janet Beecher, Robert Greig, Dora Clement, Luis Alberni, Bobby Barber, Eddie Hall, Arthur Stuart Hull, Wilda Bennett, Evelyn Beresford, Georgie Cooper, Kenneth Gibson, Alfred Hall, Bertram Marburgh, George Melford, Gayne Whitman, Abdullah Abbas, Norman Ainsley, Mary Akin, Jan Buckingham, Madge Crane, Mitchell Ingraham, Barry Norton, Robert Warwick, Sam Ash, Robert Dudley, Cyril Ring, Harry A. Bailey, Jack W. Johnston, Julius Tannen, Arthur Hoyt, Ambrose Barker, Wilson Benge, Betty Farrington,
Director: Preston Sturges
Producer: Paul Jones, Buddy G. DeSylva, Albert Lewin
Director of Photography: Victor Milner
Production Companies: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: 25 February 1941
Running Time: 1 h 37 min
Genres: Comedy, Romance
Country: United States of America
Tagline: Barbara Stanwyck has Henry Fonda Bewitched and Bewildered