A conniving father and daughter meet up with the heir to a brewery fortune—a wealthy but naïve snake enthusiast—and attempt to bamboozle him at a cruise ship card table. Their plan is quickly abandoned when the daughter falls in love with their prey. But when the heir gets wise to her gold-digging ways, she must plot to re-conquer his heart. One of Sturges’s most clever and beloved romantic comedies, The Lady Eve balances broad slapstick and sophisticated sexiness with perfect grace. —The Criterion Collection
One of Hollywood’s genuinely legendary directors, Preston Sturges redefined the boundaries and meaning of screen comedy as a filmmaker during part of the early ‘40s. The full range of his influence on movies, however, extended far beyond the director’s chair or the success of the pictures that he helmed. Sturges first made his mark in Hollywood as a screenwriter through a series of acclaimed (and still-admired) scripts across the 1930s whose qualities still resonate seven decades later.
The son of a socially prominent couple, he was born Edmund Preston Biden in Chicago in 1898. He had a cosmopolitan upbringing throughout Europe and America, and served in the Air Corps during World War I. He worked for a time in his mother’s cosmetics company before moving into other fields, including inventing. Sturges began writing plays in the late ’20s, creating one major hit, Strictly Dishonorable, which was subsequently filmed twice, the first time in 1931 by John M. Stahl (in a form surprisingly… read more
This week we highlight a unique film journal, a couple of recent Q&As and a review of a new book on Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker.
“A serious book about a serious woman.”
The Lady Eve finds itself constantly balanced on the lines between modes of comedic approach: it’s at once slapstick and dialogue-centered, friskily screwball and serious-minded, romantically… read review
An auteur before the word was coined, and a talent that re-wrote Hollywood convention, Preston Sturges was at once insider and outsider, a rich dilettante who could have succeeded at a number of careers… read review