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The Lady Eve - Wikipedia The Lady Eve is a 1941 American screwball comedy film written and directed by Preston Sturges which stars Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda. The film is based on a ...
The Lady Eve - Wikipedia The Lady Eve is a 1941 American screwball comedy film written and directed by Preston Sturges which stars Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda Lady Eve 2 The film is based on a story by Monckton Hoffe about a mismatched couple who meet on board an ocean liner 34 In 1994 The Lady Eve was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being culturally historically or aesthetically significant 5 Contents 1 Plot 2 Cast 3 Production 4 Reception and themes 5 Awards and honors 6 Influences 7 Radio adaptation 8 References 8 1 Notes 8 2 Bibliography 9 External links Charles Coburn Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda in The Lady Eve Jean Harrington Barbara Stanwyck is a beautiful con artist Along with her equally larcenous father Colonel Harrington Charles Coburn and his partner Gerald Melville Cooper she is out to fleece rich naive Charles Pike Henry Fonda the heir to the Pike Ale fortune The Ale That Won for Yale Pike is a womanshy snake expert Ophidiologist just returning from a yearlong expedition up the Amazon Though surrounded by ladies desperate for his attention Charles is putty in Jeans hands But even the best laid plans can go astray First Jean falls hard for Pike and shields him from her card sharp father Then when Pikes suspicious mindervalet Muggsy William Demarest discovers the truth about her and her father Pike dumps her Furious at being scorned she reenters his life masquerading as the posh Lady Eve Sidwich niece of Sir Alfred McGlennan Keith Eric Blore another con man whos been swindling the rich folk of Connecticut Jean is determined to torment Pike mercilessly as she explains Ive got some unfinished business with himI need him like the axe needs the turkey When Pike meets Eve he is so bewildered he constantly trips and falls over himself Although Muggsy tries to convince him shes the same dame Pike reasons that Jean would never come close to his home without at least disguising herself so he concludes the resemblance is only a coincidence After a brief courtship they marry and on the train to their honeymoon Eve begins to confess her past dropping name after name after name of old boyfriends and lovers Pike finally gets fed up and jumps off the train Now separated Jeans con team urges her to close the deal saying shes got him over a barrel and can make a killing in a settlement While Charles father and lawyers are on the phone with her pleading to settle quickly Jean says she doesnt want any money at all just for Pike to tell her its over to her face Pike refuses and through his father Jean learns that hes departing on another ocean voyage She arranges her own passage and bumps into Pike just as they met before Hopsie is overjoyed to see Jean again and they instantly dash to her cabin where they mutually affirm their love for each other Charles confesses that he is married and Jean replies tenderly So am I darling 2 Barbara Stanwyck as Jean Harrington Henry Fonda as Charles Poncefort Pike Charles Coburn as Colonel Harrington Eugene Pallette as Horace Pike William Demarest as Muggsy aka Ambrose Murgatroyd Eric Blore as Sir Alfred McGlennan Keith Melville Cooper as Gerald Janet Beecher as Janet Pike Martha ODriscoll as Martha Pikes maid Robert Greig as Burrows Pikes butler Dora Clement as Gertrude Luis Alberni as Emile Pikes chef2 Productionedit Henry Fonda from a trailer for The Lady Eve The Lady Eve was loosely based in a 19page story by Monckton Hoffe called Two Bad Hats which was also the working title for the film Sturges was assigned to write a script based on Hoffes story in 1938 with Claudette Colbert expected to be the star Sturges and Paramount producer Albert Lewin had some written disagreement in 1939 about the development of the script with Lewin writing to Sturges the first twothirds of the script in spite of the high quality of your jokes will require an almost one hundred percent rewrite Sturges objected and eventually Lewin gave in writing Follow your witty nose my boy it will lead you and me and Paramount to the Elysian pastures of popular entertainment 6 The censors at the Hays Office initially rejected the script that was submitted to them because of the definite suggestion of a sex affair between your two leads which lacked compensating moral values A later revised script was approved 7 The casting of the lead roles for The Lady Eve went through some changes At some point the studio wanted Brian Aherne for the male lead6 and Joel McCrea Madeleine Carroll and Paulette Goddard were under consideration as of July 1940 but in August 1940 Fred MacMurray and Madeleine Carroll were announced as costars In September Darryl Zanuck lent Henry Fonda to costar with Paulette Goddard who was then replaced by Barbara Stanwyck 7 Barbara Stanwyck from a trailer for The Lady Eve The Lady Eve was in production from October 21 to December 5 1940 8 According to Donald Spoto in Madcap The Life of Preston Sturges Sturges invariably paraded on the set with a colorful beret or a felt cap with a feather protruding a white cashmere scarf blowing gaily round his neck and a print shirt in loud hues the reason for the peculiar outfits he told visitors was that they facilitated crew members finding him amid the crowds of actors technicians and the public Stanwyck compared Sturges set to a carnival In his biography of Stanwyck author Axel Madsen wrote The set was so ebullient that instead of going to their trailers between setups the players relaxed in canvas chairs with their sparkling director listening to his fascinating stories or going over their lines with him To get into mood for Barbaras bedroom scene Sturges wore a bathrobe 6 Location shooting for the opening jungle scene took place at Lake Baldwin of the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Arcadia California 79 In that scene Henry Fondas character refers to Professor Marsdit whose last name is an anagram of that of Raymond L Ditmars of the American Museum of Natural History a wellknown reptile expert and popular science writer of the time 10 The film premiered in New York City on February 25 1941 and went into general release on March 21 of that year 8 It was marketed with a number of taglines including When you deal a fast shuffle love is in the cards 2 The film ranked as one of the top 10 films of that year in box office sales 7 The Lady Eve was released on video in the United States on July 12 1990 and was subsequently rereleased on June 30 1993 7 Reception and themesedit After The Lady Eve premiered at the Rialto The New York Times reviewer Bosley Crowther characterized the film as a sparkling romantic comedy He further described the directors work It isnt often that this corner has good reason to bang a gong and holler Hurry hurry hurry As a matter of fact it is all too rare indeed that we have even moderate provocation to mark a wonder of the cinematic world Too many of the films on which we comment boil down to woeful mediocrity and too many of the people who make them betray a depressing weariness 11 More than 50 years later Roger Ebert gave the film high praise If I were asked to name the single scene in all of romantic comedy that was sexiest and funniest at the same time I would advise beginning at six seconds past the 20minute mark in Preston Sturgess The Lady Eve 12 The clearest theme and easiest to pick out very early in the film is gender inversion Jean Harrington is clearly in control of the situation for the majority of the film until her feelings get in the way of her previous dubious intentions Until she realizes that she loves him there is little sense of the struggle between equals that typifies most romantic comedies The film has been lauded for a unique blend of slapstick and satire 13 We see the fall of man implied by the title of the film in many ways First is fall in the literal sense with Pike continuously falling down in various situations and his fall from innocence as he is sucked into the deceptive plots laid out by Jean 14 Sturges also uses deceptiveness in appearance profusely throughout the film Things as small as the distinction or lack thereof between beer and ale as well as the various disguises of Jean Harrington add depth to the plot line Even most of the characters have two names Charles=Hopsie Jean=EugeniaEve Sidwich This lack of recognition sets the stage for the storyline Sturges repeatedly suggests that the lowliest boob could rise to the top with the right degree of luck bluff and fraud 15 Awards and honorsedit Monckton Hoffe who wrote the original story for The Lady Eve was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Writing Original Story In that same year the National Board of Review nominated the film for Best Picture and The New York Times named it as the best film of the year in their 10 Best Films of 1941 list 2 In 1994 The Lady Eve was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being culturally historically or aesthetically significant The Lady Eve is commonly listed among the greatest films of all time In 2008 it was selected by Empire magazine as one of The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time 16 It was placed similarly on The Best 1000 Movies Ever Made list by The New York Times 17 In 2012 the movie ranked 110 on Sight and Sounds critics poll and 174 on the directors poll as selected by the British Film Institute 18The Lady Eve was listed by Time magazine as one of the AllTIME 100 Movies 19 The film was 59th on Entertainment Weeklys list of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time 20FilmSite org a subsidiary of American Movie Classics placed The Lady Eve on their list of the 100 greatest movies 21 Additionally Films101 com ranked the film as the 97th best movie of all time a list of the 10059 most notable 22 The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists 1998 AFIs 100 Years 100 Movies – Nominated23 2000 AFIs 100 Years 100 Laughs 5524 2002 AFIs 100 Years 100 Passions 2625 2005 AFIs 100 Years 100 Movie Quotes Jean Harrington I need him like the axe needs the turkey – Nominated26 2007 AFIs 100 Years 100 Movies 10th Anniversary Edition – Nominated27 2008 AFIs 10 Top 10 Nominated Romantic Comedy Film28 The Writers Guild of America ranked its screenplay as the 52nd best ever written 29 Influencesedit In 1956 the plot of The Lady Eve was recycled for the movie The Birds and the Bees starring George Gobel Mitzi Gaynor and David Niven Preston Sturges received a cowriter credit for the film although he did not actually participate in the project 30 The plot of The Lady Eve was also the model for Corrupting Dr Nice a science fiction novel by John Kessel involving time travel 31 Radio adaptationedit The Lady Eve was presented on Hollywood Star Time September 21 1946 Joan Blondell and John Lund starred in the adaptation 32 Referencesedit Notesedit Curtis 1984 p 240 a b c d e The Lady Eve IMDB Retrieved November 17 2011 Variety Film Reviews February 26 1941 p 16 Harrisons Reports and Film Reviews March 1 1941 p 34 National Film Registry Archived 20120419 at the Wayback Machine Library of Congress Retrieved November 17 2011 a b c Miller Frank and Jeff Stafford Articles The Lady Eve Turner Classic Movies Retrieved June 10 2013 a b c d e Notes The Lady Eve Turner Classic Movies Retrieved June 10 2013 a b The Lady Eve Overview Lady Eve TCM Retrieved November 17 2011 The Lady Eve Filming Locations IMDb Retrieved November 17 2011 The Lady Eve Trivia Turner Classic Movies Retrieved November 17 2011 Crowther Bosley Creative Man Preston Sturges claims his niche as a comedy master with Lady Eve The New York Times March 2 1941 Ebert Roger The Lady Eve 1941 The Chicago Sun Times November 23 1997 Retrieved November 17 2011 Coursodon 1983 p 322 Faith 1995 p 162 Sarris 1995 p 113 Empires The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time Empire Retrieved December 5 2013 The Best 1000 Movies Ever Made The New York Times April 29 2003 Retrieved December 5 2013 The Greatest Films Poll Sight & Sound Retrieved December 13 2013 Time Magazines AllTime 100 Movies Time Internet Archive February 12 2005 Archived from the original on June 28 2011 Retrieved December 5 2013 Entertainment Weeklys 100 Greatest Movies of All Time Entertainment Weekly Published by AMC FilmSite org Retrieved December 5 2013 Filmsites 100 Greatest Films AMC FilmSite org Retrieved December 5 2013 The Best Movies of All Time 10059 Most Notable Films101 com Retrieved December 5 2013 AFIs 100 Years 100 Movies Nominees PDF Retrieved 20160806 AFIs 100 Years 100 Laughs PDF American Film Institute Retrieved 20160806 AFIs 100 Years 100 Laughs PDF American Film Institute Retrieved 20160806 AFIs 100 Years 100 Movie Quotes Nominees PDF Retrieved 20160806 AFIs 100 Years 100 Movies Nominees 10th Anniversary Edition PDF Retrieved 20160806 AFIs 10 Top 10 Nominees PDF Archived from the original on 20110716 Retrieved 20160819 CS1 maint BOT originalurl status unknown link 101 Greatest Screenplays Writers Guild of America West Retrieved December 19 2016 Miller Frank Notes The Birds and the Bees Turner Classic Movies Retrieved November 17 2011 Gevers Nick Corrupting Dr Nice by John Kessel infinity plus October 16 1999 Retrieved August 29 2012 Joan Blondell In Lady Eve On WHP Star Time Harrisburg Telegraph September 21 1946 p 17 Retrieved October 7 2015 – via Newspapers com Bibliographyedit Coursodon JeanPierre American Directors Volume I New York McGrawHill 1983 ISBN 0070132631 Curtis James Between Flops A Biography of Preston Sturges New York Limelight Editions 1984 ISBN 9780879100278 Faith Kathleen The Unruly Woman The Politics of Confinement & Resistance Austin Texas University of Texas Press 1995 ISBN 9781609801373 Nochimson Martha The Lady Eve and Sullivans Travels in Cineaste Vol 27 Issue 3 Summer 2002 Sarris Andrew The American Cinema Directors And Directions 1929–1968 New York E P Dutton 1995 first edition 1968 ISBN 9780306807282 External linksedit The Lady Eve on IMDb The Lady Eve at the TCM Movie Database The Lady Eve at AllMovie Criterion Collection essay by James Harvey