A classic screwball comedy of the classic screwball ball comedy era that also has a really smart script. Fonda and Stanwyck have great chemistry and play off each other perfectly. Its a pity Fonda didn't make more straight up comedies. The leads are aided by one of the best character actor ensembles ever. One of Sturgis' best.
based on the two of his works I've seen, Sturges loves people, in a manner similar to Lubitsch. He explores the difficulties of love in a stiflingly strict moral society and elucidates the shortcomings of that binary structure of right or wrong; people are more complex, the moral spectrum more gradient. Even crooks are not morally devoid and deserve deeper consideration. Also, it was hilarious.
Awfully close to being the sort of trite, self-satisfied Golden Age costume drama I generally abhor. Imagine my surprise when I fell completely in love with it. Fonda and Stanwyck are a match made in heaven -- their banter is so charming, earnest and genuine (especially in contrast with Classical Hollywood's predominantly flowery, OTT approach to love). Sturges' clever script and a colorful supporting cast help too.
Classic Sturges is comedic mastery. Written for Barbara Stanwyck who is magnificent in her portrayal of a con artist who truly falls for her mark and must manipulate him further after discovery. Full of surprises, wry dialogue and fun performances with kudos to Coburn, Pallette, Demarest and of course Henry Fonda. '...I need him like the ax needs the turkey...'
Fave scenes: Jean narrating all the women trying to get Pike's attention as she watches with her make up mirror; Jean's reaction to Emma, the snake; the card game in which Jean thwarts the Colonel from getting his money back; and Lady 'Eve' Sidwich holding court w/ Pike's father. Stanwick didn't steal the show, she was the show, and all the supporting players were great too.