Snakes are my life, in a way.
You know how you’ll hear snooty film types lament about how nobody writes great dialogue anymore? Well, it happens to be the truth. The example above could be exhibit A. It’s taken from Preston Sturges’ great 1941 comedy The Lady Eve, and it illustrates what I mean quite nicely. Barbara Stanwyk as Jean and Henry Fonda as Charles (“Hopsie”) are two people who find themselves in love when neither expected to be, and we see it blossom right before our eyes. In only a few minutes of screen time we see nervousness, intelligence, charming silliness…and finally, lust.
It’s fun to watch the great screenplays of the Hays Code era, and watch how writers slyly dealt with sex. Sturges was a master at it, whether it’s Betty Hutton’s one-night-stand in The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek, the two horny spinsters in Sullivan’s Travels, or Barbara Stanwyck playing with Henry Fonda’s hair while making snake talk. Because , you see, they don’t write stuff like that anymore.
Henry Fonda, Preston Sturges, and Barbara Stanwyck on the set of The Lady Eve