The Lady Eve (1941) Movie Poster

Trivia for The Lady Eve (1941)

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  • This film was selected to the National Film Registry, Library of Congress, in 1994.
  • Preston Sturges wrote the script in Reno, Nevada, while awaiting his third divorce.
  • When Muggsy places a brush over his face and imitates Hitler, he is actually speaking Swedish. Directly translated he is saying: "Naughty boy I'm going to punch you in the face".
  • The check that Henry Fonda's character, Charles Pike, writes to Charles Coburn, playing "Colonel" Harrington, is dated August 29. August 29th is director Preston Sturges' birthday.
  • At the beginning Henry Fonda makes references to the help of a "Professor Marsdit". Raymond L. Ditmars of the American Museum of Natural History at the time was the best-known reptile expert in the country, the kind of popularizer that Carl Sagan later became.
  • One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by MCA ever since. It was released on DVD 21 November 2006 as one of seven titles in Universal's Preston Sturges: The Filmmaker Collection, and as a single 1 June 2010 as part of the Criterion Collection. Since that time, it's also enjoyed frequent airings on Turner Classic Movies.
  • It was hibernation season during the shoot so Emma the king snake was always sleeping while also shedding her skin. Needless to say, she was very uncooperative.
  • "Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on March 9, 1942 with Barbara Stanwyck and Charles Coburn reprising their film roles.
  • The book that Charles is reading during his first dinner aboard ship is entitled "Are Snakes Necessary." This is a spoof of the book "Is Sex Necessary" by James Thurber and E.B. White.
  • Beer is usually broken up into two basic categories: ale and lager, with the term "lager" often interchanged with "beer." The difference between beer and ale has to do with the way in which they are brewed and how the yeast ferments: ale uses yeast that gathers on the top; lager ("beer") uses yeast that ferments on the bottom.
  • Ray Milland and Paulette Goddard were initially proposed by Paramount before Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck were cast.
  • Preston Sturges wrote the screenplay specifically for Barbara Stanwyck. He had promised her a great film while working on a previous movie.
  • The favourite film of Laura Dern.
  • To maintain a light atmosphere on the set, Preston Sturges encouraged visitors. Friends, press representatives and even the general public were free to visit his sets and watch him at work.
  • With so many people on the set, Preston Sturges dressed eccentrically so that he would stand out. He usually wore either a brightly coloured beret or a hat with a feather in it. This sartorial splendour led to his being dubbed the worst-dressed man in Hollywood.
  • Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda rarely retired to their dressing rooms between takes. Instead, they hung out with Preston Sturges, listening to his stories and reviewing - and often re-writing - their lines.
  • Preston Sturges always handled his stars with kid gloves but took out his frustrations on the members of his stock company. At one point during filming, when he couldn't get Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck to read a scene the way he wanted, he stalked over to William Demarest, who wasn't even in the scene, and barked, "And don't talk so damn fast!"
  • Friends of Preston Sturges who read the script tried to convince him to cut the number of pratfalls taken by Henry Fonda, arguing that they were too much of a good thing. Sturges didn't agree, and the slapstick bits later proved to be among the film's highlights.
  • Production finished just two days behind schedule.
  • Paramount was so pleased with Preston Sturges's first two directorial efforts and his work on this film that the studio gave him a more lucrative contract at the end of 1940, paying him $2,750 a week for his work as a writer and a $30,000 bonus for each film he directed. He earned more than $200,000 in 1940.
  • The working title of this film was Two Bad Hats, which also was the title of Monckton Hoffe's original story.
  • In 1938, a Hollywood Reporter news item reported that Preston Sturges had been assigned to write the script from Monckton Hoffe's story, and that the film was to star Claudette Colbert.
  • In 1939, Preston Sturges consulted with producer Albert Lewin about his early script and, among several criticisms, Lewin responded that he felt that "the first two-thirds of the script, in spite of the high quality of your jokes, will require an almost one hundred percent rewrite." Lewin reasoned that the sequences showing "Charles" as being "inordinately fond of snakes" served no purpose and "should be ruthlessly excised." Sturges responded with a letter in which he agreed that the sequences as yet had no connection to the rest of the film, but he adamantly stood by them. In his follow-up letter, Lewin "surrender[ed] unconditionally" to Sturges's judgment, and added the following: "Follow your witty nose, my boy; it will lead you and me and Paramount to the Elysian pastures of popular entertainment."
  • The PCA initially rejected the script due to "the definite suggestion of a sex affair between your two leads" which lacked "compensating moral values." A revised script was approved, however.
  • Joel McCrea, Madeline Carroll and Fred MacMurray were considered for the leads.
  • The opening jungle river scene was shot on location at Baldwin Lake near Santa Anita, CA.
  • Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
  • The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list.
  • Selected for preservation in the US National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 1994.
  • To ensure authenticity, Sturges loaned the studio his own antique sterling silver for the posh dinner party at which Hopsie/Charles first meets Lady Eve Sidwich.
  • The scene in which Eve agrees to divorce Charles only if he tells her to her face that he wants the divorce was taken from Sturges's own life. He had made the same demand of his second wife, Eleanor Hutton, whose wealthy family thought he had only married her for her money.
  • Henry Fonda brought his daughter,Jane, on set for her fourth birthday party during filming.
  • After The Lady Eve (and two others, The Mad Miss Manton in 1938 and You Belong to Me later in 1941), Fonda would always refer to Stanwyck as his favorite leading lady.
  • The Lady Eve was the first big comedy hit for both Barbara Stanwyck (who would score later the same year in Howard Hawk's Ball of Fire) and Henry Fonda, who would remain primarily associated with serious roles.
  • When Barbara Stanwyck is masquerading as Lady Eve, she purposely mispronounces the state's name as Connect i cut. emphasizing the silent C.
  • The country home of the Pikes is in the fictitious Bridgefield, CT.
  • Henry Fonda oddly refers to his black dinner jacket as a coat.
  • The several references to "the boats not running" was because the ocean liners had stopped sailing because of the war (World War II).
  • Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the 400 movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.
  • Included among the American Film Institute's 2000 list of the Top 100 Funniest American Movies.
  • Despite the story credit to Monckton Hoffe, a legend persists to the effect that Preston Sturges got the idea for this film when he ran into one of his ex-wives and didn't recognize her.
  • This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #103.
  • This film has a 100% rating based on 33 critic reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.
  • Barbara Stanwyck was so thin that, when Henry Fonda was helping her with her shoe and remarked on how attractive her legs were, she was directed to reach down and touch the strap of her shoe in order to cover her spindly calf with her right arm.
  • On several occasions, revealing his character as a card shark, Charles Coburn uses a trick deck with the cards stitched together with elastic thread.
  • While the practice of taking popular songs and placing them in movies seemed to first come into fashion in the eighties (largely inspired by the TV show Miami Vice (1984) ), this was used much earlier. Much of the music in the film is instrumental arrangements of popular songs of the day, such as Isn't it Romantic and Cocktails for Two.
  • As Charles is coming downstairs for the party, the music in the background is an instrumental version of Cocktails For Two. Within a couple of years a sound effects laden comedy version would be released by Spike Jones and His City Slickers. In subsequent releases of this film, when the instrumental version would begin to play, the immense popularity of the novelty record would give an unanticipated comic boost to this film.
  • Written on the Sidwich coat of arms is the Latin phrase "Sic erat in fatis." This translates to "So it was fated."

Spoilers

  • Edith Head's first in a long line of costume designing for Barbara Stanwyck. The wedding gown caused a fashion sensation. So much so that it was copied for brides and called, "the Lady Eve dress."
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