Urban Cinefile
"After I read his books I feel like I have a fist indentation in my solar plexus "  -director Darren Aronofsky about his adaptation of Requiem for a Dream from a Hubert Selby Jr novel
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday December 3, 2019 

Search SEARCH FOR A DVD
Our Review Policy OUR REVIEW POLICY
Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE

Help/Contact

LADY EVE,THE: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
Father and daughter card sharks Jean (Barbara Stanwyck) and Harry (Charles Coburn) are looking for easy - and rich - prey on a luxury ocean liner when nerdy beer baron Charles Pike (Henry Fonda) gets on board in South America. He hasn't seen a woman in six months and quickly falls for Jean. And she falls for him, too, and doesn't want to cheat him at cards. Her father, however, has no such scruples. When her secret is revealed, the affair takes a tumble; but love plays many games, with each hand Queen of Hearts high.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Henry Fonda was 36 when he made The Lady Eve, and Barbara Stanwyck was 34 - both look younger than their age, and they were seriously big stars in Hollywood. This film is a good reason why. Stanwyck is sensational as the hustler whose game is upended by romance. Her Jean is a strong, independent woman, very recognisable as a woman of the 21st century, even. It's a masterclass in performance and directing - and shows how romantic comedy is not for amateurs. Hers is characterisation that is far harder to build into credible character than simple drama. Likewise Henry Fonda, who has to let the action happen to his hapless Charles.

And they're not the only ones making terrific whoopee in this splendiferous Preston Sturges comedy that'll have you laughing and crying from one scene to the next. The Oscar nominated screenplay (Original Story) zings and swings to its wonderful conclusion. (That was the year that Citizen Kane won the Oscar for Best Screenplay and Here Comes Mr Jordan won the Original Story Oscar for Harry Segall. In those days, there were three Oscars for writing: Original Screenplay, Original Story and Screenplay - the latter encompassed adaptations as well. Stanwyck also starred in Ball of Fire, also nominated for Best Original Story, for which she was herself nominated for the Oscar.)

Sturges loved the juxtaposition of comedy and drama, morals that jangled yet righted themselves within his characters and a pace that today's filmmakers still emulate - or try to. The story is simple yet not simplistic and rewards you on discovery - in other words, the less you know about it the better you'll enjoy it. It's story driven and character based, with no pretensions and plenty of heart.

The black and white photography is beautifully transferred and the Sturges bio is a terrific addition for his fans - old and new.

Published October 25, 2007

Email this article

CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

LADY EVE,THE: DVD (PG)
(US, 1941)

CAST: Barbara Stanwyck, Henry Fonda, Charles Coburn, Eugene Pallette, Martha O'Driscoll, William Demarest, Eric Blore, Janette Beecher

PRODUCER: Paul Jones

DIRECTOR: Preston Sturges

SCRIPT: Preston Sturges (story by Monckton Hoffe)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Victor Milner

EDITOR: Stuart Gilmore

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Hans Dreier, Ernst Fegte

RUNNING TIME: 89 minutes

PRESENTATION: 4:3 B&W

SPECIAL FEATURES: Preston Sturges biography x 76 mins; trailer

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Umbrella

DVD RELEASE: July 3, 2007







Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2019