The Lady Eve (1941)

I really liked The Lady Eve very much because it kind of shocked me and of how Jean reminded me of biblical Eve.  I’m not religious but I heard that Eve was the first of the pair to eat the bad apple because the snake told her to, then convinced Adam to do the same.  Jean who is the Eve-like character in this film is also mischievous in her own way and she also fooled the Adam-like character, Charles.

The biblical stuff starts when Jean was first shown eating an apple then she hits Charles with that apple. The next time is when snakes are mentioned in the film when we see Charles reading a book about snakes.  Then we learn that Jean is DEATHLY afraid of snakes while Charles loves them.  That is probably because in the bible Eve regrets later on listening to the snake and Adam never even met the snake so he has no reason to be afraid of them. Through various scenes, it’s shown that Jean is able to trick Charles many times which makes Charles gullible.  In the bible story Eve “tricks” Adam into eating the apple. Then lastly after all the things Jean puts him through, Charles still ends up with her like when Adam still ended up with Eve even though she’s the reason why they go kicked out of paradise.

As I mentioned before, the other reason why I liked this film was because it shocked me.  I didn’t think a film from 1941 would be so…sexual; especially with the female character being the sexual one.  Jean is really openly flirtatious while Charles is a square. This shows many times in the beginning when she talks to him it is so close ranged that they’re almost kissing.  Then she leads him to his or her room and that whole shoe scene is romantic.  Then she is definitely flirtatious when she was rubbing all over him in the chair, getting him all worked up and leaves him dry.  It is really hard to imagine when she wasn’t being that way.

There is one thing I didn’t like about this film and that was the representation of women.  In the beginning when all of the women are using little tricks to get Charles attention, it showed that women are kind of sneaky.  I think out of all of those women only one approach him directly. Then of course there is Jean who really makes women seem low.  She is mischievous in many ways.  It started out by tripping him to get him to talk to her and later on she pulls a big one by pretending to be another woman to just trick him into marrying her then hurt him.  Plus on top of that it is kind of hard to tell if she truly loves him because she is a professional scam artist.  I don’t know if we ever get to see the real her.  But for sure she is very selfish because she only does things for her entertainment.  I can’t say that I have seen her considered someone else’s feelings.

I can’t feel sorry for Charles though because he is a naïve, clumsy idiot who allowed those things to happen to him.

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Posted by cjenkins   @   1 October 2010

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Oct 1, 2010
8:43 pm
#1 njdonofrio :

Hi, I’m Natalia, the class blog assistant. I really like your interpretation of The Lady Eve, and it was one of my favorites in class. I agree with your comments about the blatant sexuality. I am also interested in your feelings about the portrayal of women. I agree with your comments about the fawning women who are trying to catch Charles’s attention, but I really feel that Sturges was making the film in a rather tongue-in-cheek kind of way. I found the film rather surprising, especially with how much smarter Eve is than any other man in the film, and although she is a con artist, she still is a rather genuine person, and as she said: “The best ones aren’t as good as you think they are and the bad ones aren’t as bad. Not nearly as bad.”

Another great post. Keep up the good work!

Oct 12, 2010
11:19 pm
#2 Amy Herzog :

Wonderful post– had been thinking about your disappointment with the representation of women in the film. I think it is actually very forward thinking in terms of casting the Eve character as someone so intelligent, funny, and ultimately very likable. While she exposes some of the more manipulative, negative stereotypes about women, in my opinion, she rises above them in a way female characters in other genres aren’t able to (they remain damsels in distress, or femme fatales, or sad-sack maternal figures). Fodder for thought, certainly….

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