Lady Eve, the
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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.
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
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Top Customer Reviews
In my opinion, this is the greatest romantic comedy ever made. Other films may be more romantic, others funnier, but not a single one combines both elements so perfectly. Everything about this film sparkles. Preston Sturges, one of the finest screenwriters in the history of cinema, turned out one of his most perfect scripts.. The details, the transitions between scenes, the wit, the lightning pace, the superb oneliners, the cascading dialog, absolutely everything marks this as a Preston Sturges production. The cast is utterly beyond reproach. Absolutely no one in the history of film could have been more perfect in the central role as Barbara Stanwyck. Other men could have played the Henry Fonda part, but he was nonetheless excellent in his role, one of the very few comedic parts he managed in his career. Charles Coburn sparkles as "Handsome" Harry Harrington, just as he excelled in a dozen or so other great films from the thirties, forties, and fifties. Eugene Palette, the finest Friar Tuck there ever was or ever could be, is delightful as Henry Fonda's beleaguered father. William Demarest is a fixture in nearly all of Preston Sturges's films, and while his role is not as large here as in some of the others (like HAIL THE CONQUERING HERO, SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS, or THE MIRACLE OF MORGAN'S CREEK), he nonetheless manages to steal nearly every scene he is in.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Director: Preston Sturges
Format: Black & White
Studio: Universal Studios
Video Release Date: August 4, 1998
Barbara Stanwyck ... Read more
I saw bits and pieces of The Lady Eve on Turner occasionally and never watched long enough to have an opinion one way or the other. Read morePublished on June 30 2004 by R. A Rubin
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.
This movie starring Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda remains a classic to this day. Read more
Preston Sturges' "The Lady Eve" is a romantic battle of the sexes done screwball style. Yet, to classify it solely as a romantic or screwball comedy would be a mistake. Read morePublished on Aug. 11 2003 by Steven Y.
For those who already know that this is a delightful film: the print quality isn't awful, but it isn't as flawless as some of Criterion's other transfers. Read morePublished on June 30 2003 by Eugene Koh
"The Lady Eve" is one of director, Preston Sturges' sinful, guilty pleasures. The plot involves a man-eater, played to perfection by Barbara Stanwyck, who sets her... Read morePublished on April 22 2003 by Nix Pix
I actually have nothing to add to all of the praise being heaped on both the classic comedy itself and the nearly perfect transfer to DVD. Read morePublished on Aug. 2 2002 by William S. Levison
Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck? In a comedy? Yes, my friend. And a darned good one, too. Both Fonda and Stanwyck have a surprising flair for comedy. Read morePublished on July 18 2002
This is a fantastic screwball comedy! Like all of Sturges films, it is very witty and fast paced. Additionally, like many of the other Sturges films, it manages to get away with a... Read morePublished on July 7 2002 by ehakus