Sunday, 2 January 2011

Old Movie Madness: The Lady Eve (1941)

Phew - a better movie to remove the drear feeling left by "The Edge of Love."

This comedy stars Henry Fonda as Charles Pike, an heir to an ale company whose money has allowed him to travel to the Amazon hunting for rare snakes.  After a year exploring he takes his prize find "Emma" the snake back with him on a boat to the USA and on the journey is targeted by all the eligible and not so eligible ladies aboard who are all too keen to have a piece of a rich bachelor.  Annoyed by their attention he is finally disarmed by Jean, a professional card shark who after observing him realises a different approach is needed - she trips him up and then indignantly insists he take her to her cabin to help her find another pair of shoes as he has broken her pair by his clumsiness.  Once in her cabin she flirts heavily, making him sit at her feet and fasten her shoes for her, quite a kinky little scene for the time.

Jean and her father, Handsome Harry, proceed to fleece him of several thousand pounds throughout the journey but their plasn look to be scuppered when Jean falls in love with their mark who proposes on the prow of the ship.  Before she has a chance to confess all her secret is revealed to Charles and hurt he ends their engagement.

Jean vows revenge and later makes her way back into his life posing as the Lady Eve, a British aristocrat.  Being a bit of an idiot Charles doesn't realise this is the same woman and marries her.  She takes her revenge by telling him on her wedding night of her various conquest's before their marriage and he runs off in a huff. 

Following their divorce he again sees Jean on a cruise ship and they fall into one anothers arms.

The good bits:  

  • Jean's hair - OK - it is the same all the way through (aside from her days as Eve) - little victory rolls, a mass of poodle curls and long at the back.  I'll be wearing this look tomorrow if tonight's set works out - I cut my fringe especially.

  • The costumes by the great Edith Head - wonderful slacks and blouses, a black beaded two piece showing the midriff, gorgeous beaded dresses and a lovely plaid pleated skirt and weskit.  Oh and an amazing platter had and monochrome suit worn by Jean to the races.

  • The opening credits - great animation of a snake.

The bad bits:

  • A bizarre white and gold (I assume, it is a black and white movie) suit worn by Jean on the ship.
  • The implausible storyline.

All in all though its a pleasing little movie. Take a look at the original trailer below.  The voice over is rather a bad way.  Ahhh, the casual racism of days gone by....

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