Criterion's digital transfer, created from a 35mm duplicate negative, is luminous and so sharp you can see the grain in the film. The commentary by film scholar Marian Keane is informed but academic and gets a bit cerebral as she extends her theme of role-playing to the entire film itself, constantly reminding us of the Hollywood machinery just out of frame. Peter Bogdanovich offers a more down-to-earth appreciation in his short video introduction, and James Harvey writes a lovely essay in the accompanying booklet. The disc also features the "Lux Radio Theater" adaptation performed by cast members Barbara Stanwyck and Charles Coburn (Ray Milland takes the Fonda role), Edith Head's costume designs with written comments from her memoirs (in which she describes her doomed efforts to create clothes for the snake!), stills and publicity materials, and the trailer. --Sean Axmaker
A conniving father and daughter meet up with the heir to a brewery fortune-a wealthy but naïve snake enthusiast-and attempt to bamboozle him at a cruise ship card table. Their plan is quickly abandoned when the daughter falls in love with their prey. But when the heir gets wise to her gold-digging ways, she must plot to re-conquer his heart. One of Sturges' most clever and beloved romantic comedies, The Lady Eve
balances broad slapstick and sophisticated sexiness with perfect grace.