101 Funniest Screenplays

“The secret of Mr. Sturges's distinctive style is yet to be analyzed,” The New York Times film critic Bosley Crowther wrote when this film came out in 1941. “But mainly it is composed of exceedingly well-turned dialogue, a perfect sense for the ridiculous in the most mundane and simple encounters, and generous but always precise touches of downright slapstick.” The romance between a con artist (Barbara Stanwyck) and a klutzy young scientist and scion to a brewing fortune (Henry Fonda) plays out on two stages – a cruise ship and a Connecticut mansion. Even today, one is hard-pressed to find comic roles this juicy for women, and Stanwyck gives a stupendous performance, keeping our sympathy as she dances circles around her besotted prey. More than a romantic comedy, The Lady Eve is a commentary on the very role that role-playing can have in matters of love.