Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Lady Eve

After an expedition up the Amazon, a snake expert and heir to an ale fortune boards a cruiser for New York and wards off the advances of several gawking women. Then on the way to his room, he is tripped by a beautiful young conwoman, who takes him back to her room where he falls madly in love with her. Planning to fleece him in a card game, the unexpected happens and she falls in love with him and limits the damage to be done by her father and his criminal partner. However, before the two can wed her identity is soon revealed to him, leaving her alone and dejected, and inspiring her to craft an audacious plan of revenge, not to take his money but to break his heart. "The Lady Eve" is a delightful and extremely sexy film from writer/director Preston Sturges. Barbara Stanwyck stars in a marvelously sultry role as the professional con artist who never foresaw herself falling in love and Henry Fonda uses his sincerity to wonderful comic effect playing the ultimate dope with an trusting nature. William Demarest has a particularly funny role as Fonda's suspecting bodyguard and Charles Coburn and Eugene Pallette are fine as well as Stanwyck and Fonda's fathers, respectively. Sturges' film is extremely sensual, particularly in two scenes that take place early on in Stanwyck's cabin, the first where Fonda is overtaken by her perfume, the second where she strokes an alarmed Fonda's hair after she has been scared by one of his snakes. "The Lady Eve" is a delightful screwball comedy thanks to Sturges' funny and unpredictable script, and two magnificent leading performances.