July 11, 2012
The Lady Eve
Barbara Stanwyck gives one of her most engaging and enjoyable performances in this smart comedy, written and directed by Preston Sturges. The scenes are well-thought-out so that you enjoy waiting for the punchlines, and it's wonderful fun watching Stanwyck play Fonda like a fiddle. She's expert at saying fast lines effortlessly, as though she'd ruminated carefully over every word before speaking it, and Fonda is a delightfully befuddled fool, a man who's mostly unaware of her flirtations, making love to her only inadvertently.
Fonda's character is, of course, unbelievably gullible, but this is one of those contrivances that allows the plot to function as amusingly as it does, so it's difficult to harp when you're having such a good time watching it all unfold.
With Charles Coburn, Eugene Pallette (a jovial blimp of a man who plays Fonda's rich father, the owner of a successful ale brewing company), William Demarest, Eric Blore, and Melville Cooper.