Sunday, July 3, 2011
THE LADY EVE (1941)
I really enjoyed posting two straight weeks of blogs on Hollywood films from the 1930's, and so for the 1940's I'm going to up the ante and try for three weeks worth. Looking at titles I have left from the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die book, this shouldn't be a problem. As before, I’ll list my expectations for each film going in and state whether these expectations are reached or not. And I’ll once again give each film my Elisha Cook Jr. supporting player award because there was such a bounty of great supporting performers from this period and I just like doing it.
The Lady Eve (1941)
Expectations: Yet another Preston Sturges feature. I’m a fan of his other films, think he writes snappy dialogue, Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck seem like a winning team. What’s not to like?
After viewing: Peter Bogdanavich calls it "the perfect romantic comedy." I don’t know if I liked it as much as some of the other films of Sturges, but I did like it. The whole Stanwyck coning Fonda-then falling in love-breaking up with hime and returning to extract revenge on him and not even disguising herself and he doesn’t recognize her…and...forget the plot…it’s typical Sturges from that era, which is a compliment. And Henry Fonda can do comedy! And Barbara Stanwyck is alluring and…guess I did like it, though maybe not as much as Mr. Bogdanavich.
And the Elisha Cook Jr. supporting player award goes to …William Demarest. He has been in every Sturges film I have seen, as well as many other features from this time period. And of course, he was later Uncle Charlie on My Three Sons. And what did all his characterizations have in common? Grumpiness, grouchiness and cynicism. He’s used most effectively here as Fonda’s assistant who doesn’t trust Stanwyck (and rightly so) throughout the entire picture.