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Two of the greatest screwball comedies ever made, and were I not so completely in love with Barbara Stanwyck, this might be a more difficult choice. As it is, it's an easy one.
For some reason I always get these two movies mixed up. Anyways, after looking both of these up to remind myself which is which, I'm going to choose The Awful Truth.
The Awful Truth is a pretty good screwball, and apparently we have Leo McCarey to thank for creating the Cary Grant "image" and style of comedy, but honestly it didn't stick out to me otherwise. I remember the "Gone with the Wind" scene, of course, and Ralph Bellamy was as hilarious as usual, but that was it. The Lady Eve is on another level entirely to my mind. Sturges made the sexiest screwballs EVER, and Stanwyck's ability to shift effortlessly from witty repartee to heartbreak is stunning.
Stanwyck is EASILY the best thing about "The Lady Eve", a fine and often saddening film. I'll take Cary Grant and "The Awful Truth" on this one, mainly for consistent laughs.
Love both. While Irene Dunne and Cary Grant are a much better couple than Stanwyck and Fonda, Stanwyck has a luminosity that Irene Dunne couldn't match. Ultimately, Preston Sturges' film is a stronger artistic unity, though. (and when I need something that abstruse to pick, you know how close it is!)