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The Lady Eve (1941)



Average Rating: 8.8/10
Reviews Counted: 31
Fresh: 31 | Rotten: 0

A career highlight for Preston Sturges, The Lady Eve benefits from Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda's sparkling chemistry, and from a script that has inspired countless battle-of-the-sexes comedies.


Average Rating: 8.3/10
Critic Reviews: 7
Fresh: 7 | Rotten: 0

A career highlight for Preston Sturges, The Lady Eve benefits from Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda's sparkling chemistry, and from a script that has inspired countless battle-of-the-sexes comedies.



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Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 7,230

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Movie Info

(Preston Sturges) wrote and directed this classic romantic comedy starring Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck, who are involved in a scintillating battle of the sexes, as Sturges points up the terrors of sexual passion and the unattainability of the romantic ideal. Henry Fonda plays Charles Pike, the heir to the Pike Ale fortune ("The Ale That Won for Yale"). An ophiologist (a snake expert), he just spent a year "up the Amazon" looking for rare snakes with his cynical and protective guardian/valet


Romance, Classics, Comedy

Monckton Hoffe, Preston Sturges

Oct 16, 2001

MCA Universal Home Video

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All Critics (31) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (31) | Rotten (0) | DVD (16)

The picture returns the lately heavily dramatic Barbara Stanwyck to glamor.

February 10, 2014 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Barbara Stanwyck is the sexiest con woman ever captured on film.

June 16, 2012 Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Third writer-director effort of Preston Sturges [from a story by Monckton Hoffe] is laugh entertainment of top proportions with its combo of slick situations, spontaneous dialog and a few slapstick falls tossed in for good measure.

November 13, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Preston Sturges extended his range beyond the crazy farces that had made his reputation with this romantic 1941 comedy, and his hand proved just as sure.

November 13, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A beguilingly ribald sex comedy, spattered with characteristic Sturges slapstick.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Now there's no question about it: Preston Sturges is definitely and distinctly the most refreshing new force to hit the American motion pictures in the past five years.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This wonderfully witty masterpiece was written and directed by the inimitable Preston Sturges.

February 10, 2014 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

Fonda's gullibility is endearing, as is Stanwyck's inner turmoil over her chosen path vs. a womanly desire for stability.

February 20, 2010 Full Review Source: Film and Felt
Film and Felt

Top of the line Preston Sturges with wonderful Barbara Stanwyck and surprisingly funny Henry Fonda.

February 22, 2008

One of those movies whose battle-of-the-sexes themes are still relevant more than 50 years on.

November 13, 2007 Full Review Source: Film4

It's a masterclass in performance and directing -- and shows how romantic comedy is not for amateurs

October 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Preston Sturges' most brilliant film deftly combines deftly witty dialogue and slapstick comedy, splendidly acted not only by Stanwyck and Fonda but by every single member of the ensemble.

June 26, 2007 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com powerful a feminist statement as it is a smart comedy, and all the more so for hardly seeming to break a sweat in the process.

January 16, 2007 Full Review Source:

A wonderful picture set in a world of silly heirs and sharp-eyed dolls as remote from reality and yet wholly credible as that of P. G. Wodehouse.

May 11, 2005 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

As usual with Sturges, you wonder how he was able to get away with so much innuendo during Hollywood's Hayes Code period.

March 7, 2005 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

It's just not simply an hilarious and witty battle of the sexes farce but amazingly has a tender romantic side.

February 14, 2005 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Scintillating Preston Sturges comedy.

August 11, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Screwball comedy at its finest and one of Preston Sturges' best. This deliciously funny battle of the sexes has Barbara Stanwyck as a smart, sexy con artist who wraps a bewildered Henry Fonda around her little finger. There's also a great supporting cast.

March 14, 2003

Preston Sturges' delirious humor sets up Henry Fonda's wealthy dope to be taken by Barbara Stanwyck's seductive con artistry.

March 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Romantic comedy perfection.

November 24, 2002
Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies

Audience Reviews for The Lady Eve

Barbara Stanwyck exudes enough sexuality to spark a fence post. I don't think I've ever seen a film with such perfect casting. Hilarious and brilliant.
March 19, 2012
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

An unusual romantic comedy, it's really funny, and has a good cast. Really worth watching.
September 29, 2010

Super Reviewer

Hah! Delightful!! I'm not sure who was the bigger scene stealer, Barbra Stanwyck or Henry Fonda, I loved them both. Fonda was sweet and naive while Stanwyck was closer to her Ball of Fire role, witty and fiery and perfect! The story lagged a bit here and there, but the humor kept me going.
September 6, 2010
Jennifer D

Super Reviewer

Henry Fonda plays a big dope who wanders around clueless for an entire movie. It's Barbara Stanwyck who has the fun role, as she falls for the dope pretty early in the film, and spends the rest of the time trying to con the big lug into falling in love with her. Fonda plays Charles "Hopsy" Pike, a snake collector who is returning from the jungle aboard a cruise ship. It's a cruise ship that's also inhabited by a group of con men, including Jean (Barbara Stanwyck). It turns out Charlie isn't just a snake collector, he's also the heir to a million dollar brewing company ("Pike's Pale: the Ale that won for Yale"). All the women onboard the ship begin to throw themselves at him, but he's so clueless when it comes to women that he scarcely notices. When Jean begins to seduce Hopsy, it's a con that quickly becomes sincere. Hopsy does find out her true identity though, and leaves her for being an immoral woman (once again, the old hollywood standard plot device of a woman's questionable morals comes into play). She vows to get revenge for the shabby way he treats her, and poses as "The Lady Eve" in order to trick him into falling in love with her again. The idea being, Jean was really a nice girl from a not so nice background, whereas the Lady Eve would be a not-so-nice girl from a very nice background, teaching Hopsy not to judge a book by it's cover. It's a screwball comedy with plenty of laughs.
March 13, 2010
Mr Awesome
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

    1. Jean Harrington: I need him like the axe needs the turkey.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
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