By Stacia Woycheck, OGT Blog Squad Volunteer
The July Monday Matinee is The Lady Eve released in 1941, starring Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda. The comedy won the Academy Award for Best Writing, Original Story. It was named as a top ten films in 1941 and is considered one of the 500 greatest movies of all time.
One of the earliest of rom-coms, the film features a dashingly young Henry Fonda, playing Charles Pike, who has just returned to civilization after an expedition on the Amazon River. Not only is he an accomplished scientist, but he is the heir to a million dollar brewery. He finds himself on a cruise and the love interest of all the females. One particularly tricky single lady, Jean Harrson, played by Barbara Stanwyck, sets her sights on landing the wealthy bachelor. Jean is a seasoned con and her equally conning father, Colonel Harrington, played by Charles Coburn, devise a plan to reel Charles in. Jean’s plan works but her boundaries melt as the digger genuinely falls in love with the gold. Her plan is foiled. Charles, now endearingly nicknamed Hopsy, starts suspecting Jean is after his money and he dumps her.
Not taking the rejection well, Jean plots her revenge. She reinvents herself as the Lady Eve Sidwich. When Charles sees Lady Eve and he is so mesmerized by her and her uncanny resemblance to Jean that he becomes a bumbling fool. Deciding it is not Jean, but falling for Lady Eve and all of her likeness of Jean, he courts her and they marry in a whirlwind. On a post wedding “tell-all” train ride, Lady Eve offers a transparent recount of her past husbands and lovers. Charles becomes increasingly distraught with Lady Eve’s conquests and falls perfectly into Jean’s plan for revenge and he jumps the train.
With a pending divorce and potentially huge settlement for Jean and her con man father, true love conquers all, when Jean is no longer interested in the money and only wants to see Charles one last time! The Lady Eve is a cleverly written, well paced, witty film. Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda give compelling performances. It is a perfect summer film to start the week with!
Stacia’s love of old movies began as a child, when her mother would take her to the matinee to see classics like Casablanca, Gone With the Wind, and The African Queen. She fast became a Humphrey Bogart and Old Hollywood fan. Her favorite class as an undergraduate student was Film Appreciation. She loves the charm of the Old Greenbelt Theater and volunteers to spread the word. She loves to spend time with her husband, play with her dog, and travel (when she isn’t traveling, she is planning her next trip).