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Sep 30, 2022

A tonally disparate pair of great films for Paramount 1941: Preston Sturges' The Lady Eve, starring Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda, one of the greatest movies ever made, according to Elise; and a real rarity, William Wellman's Reaching for the Sun, starring some important Sturges actors: Joel McCrea, Ellen Drew, and Eddie Bracken. We interrogate the strange central relationship in The Lady Eve, examining its sadistic, maternal, narcissistic, you-name-it qualities, and Sturges’ masterful blending of comedy tropes, melodrama structure, and painful personal psychology. Then we turn to the interesting mixture of "universal" (20th century Western) gender tropes and modern modifications of them in Wellman's tale of a man torn between urban opportunity and Thoreauvian freedom. Then, in our Fear and Moviegoing in Toronto segment, we briefly discuss the Coen brothers' The Hudsucker Proxy (1994) and its curious misunderstandings of Capra, and Brian De Palma's brilliant Femme Fatale and its channeling of Lynch and Verhoeven, but with De Palma's peculiar mixture of sweetness and satire. 

Time Codes:

0h 01m 00s:      THE LADY EVE [dir. Preston Sturges]


1h 14m 35s:      FEAR & MOVIEGOING IN TORONTO: THE HUDUSCKER PROXY (1994) by Joel and Ethan Coen & FEMME FATALE (2002) by Brian DePalma


Studio Film Capsules provided by The Paramount Story by John Douglas Eames

Additional studio information from: The Hollywood Story by Joel W. Finler



* Marvel at our meticulously ridiculous Complete Viewing Schedule for the 2020s

* Intro Song: “Sunday” by Jean Goldkette Orchestra with the Keller Sisters (courtesy of The Internet Archive)

* Read Elise’s latest film piece on Preston Sturges, Unfaithfully Yours, and the Narrative role of comedic scapegoating.

* Check out Dave’s new Robert Benchley blog – an attempt to annotate and reflect upon as many of the master humorist’s 2000+ pieces as he can locate – Benchley Data: A Wayward Annotation Project! 

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