The Lady Eve (1941)
The Lady Eve (1941)
The Lady Eve (1941)
The Lady Eve (1941)
The Lady Eve (1941)

Film Studies

Cinema Classics Seminar:
The Lady Eve

Funny Mondays
Monday July 1, 2024, 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm  
Instructor: Jennifer Fleeger, Ph.D., Ursinus College

Back in 1932, Ernst Lubitsch’s Trouble in Paradise taught us that there’s something glorious about the con artist romance, and Preston Sturges seems to have taken notes. Why is it that audiences so desperately want charming hustlers and cheats to succeed? Written and directed by Sturges, The Lady Eve  (1941) stars Barbara Stanwyck as a thief and Henry Fonda as a clumsy, befuddled, and wealthy researcher, reviving the gendered formulation on which the screwball comedy had come to rely. 

Yet there’s a uniqueness to Sturges’s wit that this seminar will explore by considering the film’s relationship to the rest of his work and the approaches he took in creating it. We’ll talk about the screenplay, its source material, and the wildly improbable misrecognition at its core. What makes stories like this “work?” What explains the desire for screwball comedies and where does  The Lady Eve  fit on the chronology of their rise and fall? We’ll also discuss the film’s physical comedy and how it might both help us understand the story’s presentation of gender and offer an explanation for its title. Finally, we’ll address how the careers of Stanwyck, Fonda, and Eric Blore (movie butler extraordinaire) are essential to the film’s comical allusions and dazzling romantic moments. 

Are you interested in “just” seeing this movie? Visit the public screening page here.

Cinema Classics Seminars offer an entertaining and engaging way to learn more about some of the true classics of world cinema. All students receive an introductory lecture before the film and a guided discussion after the film. In addition, those in attendance receive a ticket to see it on the big screen, as well as popcorn and a drink. Please note: the screening associated with this seminar will be open to the public, as well.

Please email BMFI Programs and Education Coordinator Jill Malcolm with any questions.


Course Information

$25 for members, $35 for non-members


  • Monday, July 1 · 6:30 pm