Lady Eve, The

Henry Fonda’s wealthy ‘snakeologist’ returns to the U.S. on an ocean liner after a year up the Amazon and is expertly stung by con-girl Barbara Stanwyck and her cardsharp papa Charles Coburn. Love blossoms, inevitably and very sexily. But he turns prim when the deception’s revealed, and she’s avenged in a scintillating reprise, now impersonating the cut-glass aristo, ‘Lady Eve’. Sturges trowels on the slapstick (food cascades and cascades on long-suffering Fonda), but it’s Stanwyck who coolly steals the picture with her quick tongue and serpentine assurance. The Lady Eve topped the New York Times’ list of ‘Best Films of 1941’, beating Citizen Kane into second place.

U.S.A., 1941.
With: William Demarest, Martha O’Driscoll, Eric Blore.
Black and white.
94 mins.

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