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The Lady Eve film image; woman with apple being romanced by man

Masters of Screwball: Preston Sturges

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Screenwriter and director Preston Sturges pitched the screwiest of screwball curves in the early 1940s, creating madcap movie magic with his dizzyingly deft blend of witty wordplay, slapstick schtick, kooky characters and Production Code-pushing risqué romances. Michael van den Bos probes Preston Sturges’s screwball style, followed by a screening of the director’s mirthful masterpiece, The Lady Eve (1941).

In The Lady Eve, Henry Fonda’s millionaire ophiologist returns from pursuing reptiles up the Amazon and falls for Barbara Stanwyck’s 24-carat gold-digger (literally: she trips him up). Apprised of her conniving ways, he dumps her, only to take the fall a second time when she exacts revenge masquerading as the British aristocrat, Lady Eve Sidwich. Prime Sturges, this semi affectionate mockery of class pretension marked the full flowering of his splendidly egalitarian ’stock company’.

If I were asked to name the single scene in all of romantic comedy that was sexiest and funniest at the same time, I would advise beginning at six seconds past the 20-minute mark in Preston Sturges’ The Lady Eve, and watching as Barbara Stanwyck toys with Henry Fonda’s hair in an unbroken shot that lasts three minutes and 51 seconds.

Roger Ebert

 


Please note that these films from nine decades ago sometimes reflect attitudes and assumptions that are considered offensive today, in particular in regards to their treatment of racial and ethnic difference, as well as towards sexuality and gender. VIFF invites audiences to view these films through a historical lens and with the critical distance that time provides for us.

Lecture

10:30 am

Film

11:00 am

Presenter

Michael van den Bos

Director

Preston Sturges

Cast

Barbara Stanwyck, Henry Fonda

Country of Origin

USA

Year

1941

Language

English

19+
150 min

Book Tickets

Monday April 22

10:30 am
Guests/Q&As Hearing Assistance
VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre
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Masters of Screwball: Preston Sturges

Preston Sturges created madcap movie magic with his dizzyingly deft blend of witty wordplay, slapstick schtick, kooky characters and risqué romances. Michael van den Bos probes Preston Sturges's sublime screwball style, followed by his film The Lady Eve.

VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre

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VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre