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The Lady Eve Details

FULL SYNOPSIS

(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 Muggsy (William Demarest). He arrives to board the S.S. Southern Queen bound for New York, and immediately becomes the main order of business for a collection of single women looking to nab the eligible bachelor. Amongst those watching Charles board are a trio of con men and cardsharps -- Colonel Handsome Harry Harrington (Charles Coburn), his partner Gerald (Melville Cooper), and the Colonel's daughter Jean (Barbara Stanwyck). All three see Charles as a pushover and at dinner, while all the women are ogling Charles, Jean wins the day by sticking out her foot and tripping him. Complaining to Charles that he should watch where he is going, she gets him to escort her to her cabin so that she can replace her broken heel. Charles is sexually attracted to Jean, but when Charles is about to make a pass at her, she pulls back, telling him, "You ought to be put in a cage." Back in the dining room, Charles is introduced to the Colonel and the three play cards, Charles winning $500 from the Colonel and $100 from Jean. But Charles is merely being set-up for the next game when the Colonel will come in for the kill. Back at Jean's cabin, Charles and Jean sit close and something happens she hadn't planned -- she becomes attracted to Charles too. The next morning, Muggsy warns Charles that the Colonel and Jean are cardsharks, but Charles won't hear of it. Meanwhile, the Colonel is looking forward to fleecing Charles, but Jean doesn't want any part of it. Jean participates in the card game between Charles and the Colonel, making sure than the Colonel doesn't cheat. But while Jean waits on deck for Charles after the game, the Colonel plays Charles a game of double-or-nothing, with Charles losing $32,000. Jean, angry with her father, makes the Colonel tears up Charles' check. The next morning, Muggsy proves to Charles the three are con artists. Devastated, Charles shows Jean the photograph, claiming he knew she was a criminal the morning after he met her. Jean is determined to get even with Charles ("I hate that mug!"). Docking in New York, the Colonel reveals he merely palmed the $32,000 check. But that's not enough revenge for Jean. Impersonating an aristocratic English woman, Lady Eve Sidwich, Jean has herself introduced to Charles. Planning to make Charles to fall in love with her again, she intends to break his heart like he broke her own. As she explains, "I've got some unfinished business with him -- I need him like the axe needs the turkey." ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi

  • Release date:February 25, 1941

Awards

Awarded by
Nominee
Category
Year
Status
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Monckton Hoffe Best Original Story 1941 Nominee

Cast

Henry Fonda
as Charles Pike
Barbara Stanwyck
as Jean Harrington
Charles Coburn
as "Colonel" Harry Harrington
Eugene Pallette
as Mr. Pike
William Demarest
as Muggsy-Ambrose Murgatroyd
Eric Blore
as Sir Alfred McGlennon-Keith
Janet Beecher
as Mrs. Pike
Robert Greig
as Burrows
Dora Clement
as Gertrude
Al Bridge
as Steward
Pat West
as Bartender
Julius Tannen
as Lawyer
Eva Dennison
as Mother on Boat
Evelyn Beresford
as Party Guest
Walter Walker
as Sparky
Sam Ash
as Husband on Boat
Arthur Hoyt
as Lawyer at Telephone in Pike's Office
Wanda McKay
as Daughter on Boat
Robert Warwick
as Passenger
George Melford
as Party Guest
John Hartley
as Young Man on Boat
Torben Meyer
as Purser
Reginald Sheffield
as Prof. Jones
Esther Michelson
as Wife on Boat
Harry Rosenthal
as Piano Tuner
Abdullah Abbas
as Man with Potted Palm
Kenneth Gibson
as Party Guest
Martha O'Driscoll
as Martha
Cyril Ring
as Husband on Boat
Gayne Whitman
as Party Guest
Bertram Marburgh
as Party Guest
Jack Richardson
as Father of Girl on Boat
Luis Alberni
as Pike's Chief
Georgia Cooper
Jimmy Conlin
as Steward
Wilson Benge
as Butlers at Party
Harry Depp
as Man With Glasses on Boat
Frank Moran
as Bartender at Party
Betty Farrington
as Mother on Boat
Pauline Drake
as Social Secretary
Wilda Bennett
as Party Guest
Norman Ainsley
as Sir Alfred's Manservant
Victor Potel
as Steward
Melville Cooper
as Gerald

Crew

Preston Sturges
Director
Paul Jones
Producer
Preston Sturges
Screenwriter
Monckton Hoffe
Screenwriter
Victor Milner
Cinematographer
Sigmund Krumgold
Composer (Music Score)
Sigmund Krumgold
Musical Direction/Supervision
Stuart Gilmore
Editor
Ernst Fegte
Art Director
Hans Dreier
Art Director
Edith Head
Costume Designer
Harry Lindgren
Sound/Sound Designer
Wally Westmore
Makeup
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