I mean, what’s not to love, really? It’s just a delight of a movie. And like any screwball comedy, this is one of those movies that you can watch over and over. So I thought I’d share with you some of the things I love about it:
– Preston Sturges. Preston Sturges. Preston Sturges. He was a genius. He’s the screenwriter screenwriters don’t know they want to be like. He started out quite late – so there’s hope for all of us – and then later on in life, he famously said one of my favorite quotes of all time: ‘When the last dime is gone, I’ll sit on the curb outside with a pencil and a ten-cent notebook and start the whole thing over again.’ Bliss.
– The chemistry between Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda. They were perfectly cast in this, and they play off each other brilliantly. Barbara Stanwyck could do anything you threw her way, so her comic ability comes as no surprise, and Henry Fonda is just wonderful in everything and this rare comic role (oh, there should have been more!) is a delight.
– The characters. Screwballs are nothing without their supporting cast and The Lady Eve is a goldmine of colorful characters. From the ‘Colonel’ (Charles Coburn), to Muggsy (William Demarest), to Horace (Eugene Palette), everyone is on point in this.
– The scene with the horse ALWAYS makes me laugh. ‘Stop that! Oh sorry, I thought it was the horse.’ It’s so silly, but just the way she says that, without even trying to be funny, is pure gold.
– The ‘You don’t know what you’ve done to me’ scene. This, to me, is one of the archetypal scenes in screwball comedy. It’s so perfect. The sexual innuendo, the playful seduction, the witty dialogue… This is screwball at its best.
There are loads more, of course. The Lady Eve is one of my favorite screwballs ever and did I ever mention how much I love Barbara Stanwyck?