FILMCLUB will be screening Preston Sturges’ The Lady Eve, one of the great comedies from the American screwball era at the Tatham Art Gallery in Chief Albert Luthuli Street, Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday, March 29 at 7 pm.
Comedy is the hardest of film genres in which to have more than transient success: the physical comedy of the silent era aside, many films that begin their lives as hilarious entertainments gradually come, on later viewings, to seem laboured or, more often, just plain unfunny. So it is that we tend to struggle to fill the “comedy slot” in our programme.
Happily it is not entirely impossible to find good comedies and tonight’s film is an excellent example. The Lady Eve is arguably the best film to be directed by Preston Sturges, Hollywood’s leading writer in the screwball era.
Indeed, The Lady Eve is one of those “cinema miracles” where script, performance and direction all combine to produce results that are both hilarious and profoundly satisfying. Of particular note are the lead performances, with Barbara Stanwyck a sassy heroine who gives a remarkable performance as the con artist who targets Henry Fonda, the bumbling, woman-shy Charles Pike, heir to the Pike Ale fortune.
The trouble is, she falls deeply in love with him and so what begins as a comic caper turns into a genuine love story and the film’s comedy moves from its definition as a funny series of events to its original meaning as a story in which good conquers evil and all live happily every after.
And, yes, the con artist and the “English aristocrat” who eventually wins Charles are, as Muggsy his put-upon butler and general minder keeps insisting, nothing other than “the same dame.”
As usual, entry is R35 per person and The Tatham Coffee shop will be offering a soup and bread supper from 6pm onwards (at a very reasonable R40 per person). Safe parking will be available in the government parking lot next to the gallery.