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Lady Eve
     

The Lady Eve

4.5 9
Director: Preston Sturges,

Cast: Henry Fonda, Barbara Stanwyck, Charles Coburn

 

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Long considered one of the classic screwball comedies of all time, Preston Sturges' delirious comedy of the sexes The Lady Eve has been given a superb digital unveiling from the folks at The Criterion Collection. As with their disc of Sullivan's Travels (also directed by Sturges), the Criterion release of Eve is a sumptuous delight, beautifully

Overview

Long considered one of the classic screwball comedies of all time, Preston Sturges' delirious comedy of the sexes The Lady Eve has been given a superb digital unveiling from the folks at The Criterion Collection. As with their disc of Sullivan's Travels (also directed by Sturges), the Criterion release of Eve is a sumptuous delight, beautifully preserving this madcap farce for a new generation of movie lovers who may not yet be acquainted with its oddball charms. The disc has been given a wonderful new digital transfer (presented in its original full-screen format of 1.33:1), taken from a 35 mm duplicate negative, as well as a new audio boost. Sound and picture look great. The black-and-white picture is sharp and clean, with very little scratches or lines detected. The high-contrast transfer is always stable and is a definite improvement over previous video releases. That goes for the mono soundtrack as well. The dialogue is always clear and there is little to no audio hiss. In terms of extras, the disc has some very nice ones, including an excellent audio commentary track from film scholar Marian Keane. Her track is more of an audio essay than a scene-by-scene analysis of the film (though it does do that as well), as Keane talks at length about Sturges' deft skill at staging comedy and how he manages to juggle more than a few thematic balls in the air at once. Keane does not hide her love for the film, and her erudite and insightful comments are worth a good listen. The disc also includes an optional video introduction from director Peter Bogdanovich, who offers up some anecdotes about the making of the film and about the peculiar career of Eve's director. The original 1942 Lux Radio Theater adaptation has also been included, starring Barbara Stanwyck and Ray Milland (taking over Henry Fonda's role). A peek at some Edith Head costumes that were used in the film (and some that weren't) has been added, as well as production stills and the original theatrical trailer. Liner notes from writer James Harvey have also been included. The disc will make a great companion to the above mentioned Sullivan's DVD.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Gregory Baird
For all his taste, education, and worldliness, legendary writer-director Preston Sturges loved nothing more than a good, old-fashioned pratfall, and in The Lady Eve he mixed raucous slapstick with clever, biting dialogue and urbane situations. The butt of his jokes is Henry Fonda, playing the socially maladroit scion of beer baron Eugene Pallette. While traveling via ocean liner, he's targeted by seductive con artist Barbara Stanwyck -- who, among other things, impersonates a cultured English lady in an attempt to worm her way into his heart...and checkbook. Sturges polished his scripts repeatedly before he began shooting, and his performers deviated from them at the risk of incurring his wrath; but the end product invariably seemed spontaneous, and The Lady Eve is no exception. Fonda and Stanwyck are nothing short of remarkable, and her stateroom seduction of him is a hysterically funny scene that skirted the restrictive Production Code governing movie morality and delighted 1941 moviegoers with its suggestiveness. William Demarest tears through the film as Fonda's blustery, dyspeptic pal, and Charles Coburn, as Stanwyck's equally larcenous father, gets off a goodly share of wry one-liners. For unadulterated zaniness, Sturges can't be beat, and The Lady Eve ranks among this innovative director's very best films.
All Movie Guide - Richard Gilliam
The Lady Eve is among the funniest films of the World War II era, and one of the few comedies whose humor has survived both cultural changes and shifting audience demographics. Directed by Preston Sturges with his usual efficiency, the battle-of-the-sexes story allows star performers Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck to shine, though supporting performer William Demarest often steals the show. As was common in the censorship-laden war era, Sturges resorted to several clever sexual symbols. Fonda's character is an expert on snakes, and there is a funny moment when the audience catches the phallically suggestive book title, Are Snakes Necessary?. The dialogue is consistently bright and peppy. As Roger Ebert has pointed out, Fonda's steady, down-to-earth performance is necessary to allow Stanwyck's screwball character to shine.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/16/2001
UPC:
0715515011624
Original Release:
1941
Rating:
NR
Source:
Criterion
Presentation:
[B&W]
Sound:
[monaural]
Time:
1:33:00
Sales rank:
4,667

Special Features

New digital transfer; Audio commentary by noted film scholar Marian Keane; Video introduction by writer-director Peter Bogdanovich; The 1942 broadcast of the Lux Radio Theater adaptation, performed by Barbara Stanwyck and Ray Milland; Edith Head costume designs; Scrapbook of original publicity materials and production stills; Original theatrical trailer; English subtitles ; Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Henry Fonda Charles Pike
Barbara Stanwyck Jean Harrington
Charles Coburn "Colonel" Harry Harrington
Eugene Pallette Mr. Pike
William Demarest Muggsy-Ambrose Murgatroyd
Eric Blore Sir Alfred McGlennon-Keith
Janet Beecher Mrs. Pike
Robert Greig Burrows
Georgia Cooper Actor
Abdullah Abbas Man with Potted Palm
Melville Cooper Gerald
Martha O'Driscoll Martha
Dora Clement Gertrude
Luis Alberni Pike's Chief
Norman Ainsley Sir Alfred's Manservant
Sam Ash Husband on Boat
Ambrose Barker Mac
Wilson Benge Butlers at Party
Wilda Bennett Party Guest
Evelyn Beresford Party Guest
Al Bridge Steward
Jimmy Conlin Steward
Eva Dennison Mother on Boat
Harry Depp Man With Glasses on Boat
Helen Dickson Mother on Boat
Pauline Drake Social Secretary
Robert Dudley Husband on Boat
Betty Farrington Mother on Boat
Ray Flynn Lawyer
Kenneth Gibson Party Guest
Alfred Hall Party Guest
John Hartley Young Man on Boat
Arthur Hoyt Lawyer at Telephone in Pike's Office
Arthur Stuart Hull Party Guest
J.W. Johnston Lawyer
Bertram Marburgh Party Guest
Wanda McKay Daughter on Boat
George H. Melford Party Guest
Torben Meyer Purser
Esther Michelson Wife on Boat
Frank Moran Bartender at Party
Ella Neal Daughter on Boat
Joe North Butler at Party
Jean Phillips Sweetie
Victor Potel Steward
Frances Raymond Old Lady on Boat
Jack Richardson Father of Girl on Boat
Cyril Ring Husband on Boat
Harry Rosenthal Piano Tuner
Reginald Sheffield Prof. Jones
Julius Tannen Lawyer
Walter Walker Sparky
Robert Warwick Passenger
Pat West Bartender
Gayne Whitman Party Guest
Harry A. Bailey Lawyer in Pike's Office
Almeda Fowler Mother on Boat

Technical Credits
Preston Sturges Director,Screenwriter
Hans Dreier Art Director
Ernst Fegte Art Director
Stuart Gilmore Editor
Edith Head Costumes/Costume Designer
Monckton Hoffe Screenwriter
Don Johnson Sound/Sound Designer
Paul Jones Producer
Sigmund Krumgold Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Harry Lindgren Sound/Sound Designer
Victor Milner Cinematographer
Wally Westmore Makeup

Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Chapters
1. Logos/Titles [1:28]
2. Up The Amazon [1:49]
3. "The ale that won for Yale" [1:38]
4. A Chance Meeting [3:40]
5. "See anything you like?" [3:57]
6. A Game of Cards [5:17]
7. Jean's Ideal [6:05]
8. Muggsy Suspects [2:56]
9. Scotch for Breakfast [2:09]
10. "Snakes and all" [2:39]
11. High Stakes [6:48]
12. A Moonlit Deck [2:04]
13. The Morning After [2:43]
14. "Not nearly as bad" [6:27]
15. Revenge [1:42]
16. Unfinished Business [2:53]
17. Preparations at the Pikes' [3:59]
18. The Lady Eve [2:20]
19. "Never been in South America" [4:09]
20. "The same dame" [4:36]
21. Sidwich Family Secrets [3:10]
22. Pike's Pitch [4:22]
23. The Big Day [2:41]
24. Angus, Herman, Vernon [6:54]
25. Negotiations [3:29]
26. "Positively the same dame" [3:40]

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The Lady Eve 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
¿The Lady Eve' is one of director, Preston Sturges' sinful, guilty pleasures. The plot involves Jean Harrington, a man-eater played to perfection by Barbara Stanwyck, who sets her sights on dim-witted millionaire, Charles Pike (Henry Fonda). After nearly wooing him into signing over his fortune, Charles discovers the truth about Jean and retreats to his country home to convalesce. But Jean¿s scheming doesn't end there. Together with her unscrupulous gambling father (Charles Coburn) Jean plots to win Charles¿ heart back ¿ all the while losing hers to him in the process. Criterion has redefined what is meant by their tag line of 'Sparkling new digital transfer'. There is nothing new or sparkling about the print used in the mastering of this DVD. It is faded, worn and exhibits nearly every ravage of time, including tears, chips, scratches and water damage worthy of a complete restoration effort. Worse, the DVD mastering is shoddy, with an excessive amount of edge enhancement, aliasing and fine detail shimmering that completely distracts one from enjoying the performances. Film and digital grain is excessive and distracting. Tiling in the background information is also glaringly obvious and present throughout. The gray scale of this disc reads more like a muddy haze of undistinguished tonality in which all details get buried under and lost. The audio is mono and strident, scratchy and worn. Extras include a Lux Radio Broadcast of the movie for those who want to turn off their television and just listen to the movie in its audio form (boring!) and an audio commentary that, while informative, doesn¿t offer any revelations. Unfortunately, Criterion's penny pinching on quality is not reflected in their asking price. Like Charles in ¿The Lady Eve¿ one feels a genuine sense of being suckered.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this movie is absolutely a gem! written and directed by preston sturges, this movie just showcases the wit of the director/writer and how great an actress barbara stanwyck is. both arent very well known today and it is a pity. the criterion dvd has excellent extras too. henry fonda plays the straight man in the movie with lots of pratfalls and he is jsut adorable too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'The Lady Eve' is a terrific movie in almost every way. Stanwyck and Fonda have wonderful screen chemistry. The writing for this movie is sharp, clever, and very smooth. Fine movie and extremely modern for the time it was made. As usual, Stanwyck combines both toughness and vulnerability is an endearing way that makes her enormously attractive. I have never seen an actress who rivals her, with the possible exception of Bette Davis, who never attained Stanwyck's versatility. If you haven't seen this movie, do so, by all means!
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