copyright © Jedo Dre 2011
Barbara Stanwyck is one of the hottest ladies to hit the silver screen. On top of that, in this film she is a really interesting strong character unlike the paper thin ladies in distress seen in so many other films of the time. This is very much her movie, just as the title accurately suggests. Most other actors are good too. Charles Coburn plays a father and partner in crime to Barbara's character and he is charming and has chemistry with the girl.
It is unfortunately Henry Fonda, the biggest of the names, who is kind of boring at best and annoying at worst. He is given a role of a naive doofus and he plays that role a little too well. calling into question the believability of his given profession as well any chemistry between him and the intelligent lady. It feels from some of the initial dialgoue that the original plan may have been for him to appear as a smart bookworm who is simply awkward with women, but instead he is just dumb. This is not really a comedy where being dumb is more forgivable so this is just not a very interesting character to put in the lead role.
And this flaw is one of the problems with the story. It starts strong, but fizzles out, both in terms of interest and excitement. The plot becomes increasingly ridiculous, depending on the stupidity of James Fonda's character for its continuation. Then, towards the end of the film, the two main characters argue (which is in itself a cliché) and the point of contention between them is based on a cultural norm for women that no longer exists, and in fact, was already not realistic at the time this movie was made.
The dialogue can be quite witty. You have to be fast enough to catch the good parts. However, eventually it gets romantic or sentimental and that is when the movie becomes a cheap romance novel with lines like "You believe me, don't you" spoken from behind sad puppy eyes.
The cinematography is OK, but there is nothing inventive or of particular interest. It is a surprisingly sexual film for a 40's film with a good amount of skin from the main lady, though not enough to make it interesting that way.
The makers do something interesting with the music in the later part of the movie to incorporate it into the film, but at all other times it is the usual sappy 40s romantic tunes.
Lady Eve is all about its main female character. To a lesser degree it is about the funny supporting characters. However, the story disappoints and the main male character is a drag.
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