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The Lady Eve

S is for Stanwyck
Screening on Film
Directed by Preston Sturges.
With Barbara Stanwyck, Henry Fonda, Charles Coburn.
US, 1941, 35mm, black & white, 97 min.
Print source: HFA

Screenwriter-director Preston Sturges had promised Barbara Stanwyck he would write a great comedy for her one day, and he delivered it with this sly little masterpiece of comic seduction that contains just the right blend of satire and slapstick. Stanwyck gives a dazzling performance as a gold digger who conspires to seduce Fonda, the shy, backward son of a wealthy brewer who sells beer under the slogan “Pike’s Pale, the Ale that Won for Yale.” Stanwyck pitches most of her delivery into a kind of hushed, urgent, and intimate whisper—creating an ultimate satire of feminine wiles.

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