Greg Proops (one of the most mind-warpingly quick-draw improv comics on earth) records the latest episode of his monthly Film Club podcast live — and then it’s time for The Lady Eve. Greg sez: “Preston Sturges life beats all. His mother was a randy bi-sexual bohemian who rolled with the Mad Dancer Isadora Duncan, he served in WW1, invented a kiss-proof lipstick called, “Red, Red Rouge,” and went from being a playwright in New York to the highest paid writer-director in Hollywood by trading a screenplay for the chance to direct, plus $10. The Lady Eve comes in the middle of his five-year run as the funniest screwball director in Hollywood. Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda didn’t slink to their trailers between takes, they stayed on set listening to Sturges’ stories (reportedly, Sturges wore a bathrobe on the set to get everyone in the mood for their bedroom scene). Stanwyck is a con artist who is trying to bilk rich nitwit Fonda out of his fortune. He is a snake expert and she becomes the Lady Eve, get it?

Sturges’ Golden Rules of Comedy: A pretty girl is better than a plain one / A leg is better than an arm / A bedroom is better than a living room / An arrival is better that a departure / A birth is better than a death / A chase is better than a chat / A dog is better than a landscape / A kitten is better than a dog / A baby is better than a kitten / A kiss is better than a baby / A pratfall is better than anything. This one has the whole kit and caboodle. Be there or suffer a night at home with no laughter, sophistication or grumpy character actors.”

Dir. Preston Sturges, 1941, 35mm, 94 min.