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All About Eve

   

All About Eve (1950) starring Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders, Gary Merrill

All About Eve: Fasten your seat belts for a bumpy ride. This is the story of an aging actress, undone by a young, ambitious fan. Sophisticated performances by Davis, Sanders and Baxter shine in this scathing look at the world of the theater.

Review

All About Eve is an excellent film all around. A compelling story, with great acting. It’s about an ambitious fan, Eve. He attaches herself slyly to a great actress. And she begins studying her, and quietly undercutting her at every opportunity. It’s clear to the audience that she’s trying to take the lady’s place. But it’s not obvious to the characters …. At least, at first.

Eve uses gossip, insinuation, and blackmail to try and maneuver the people in Margo Channing’s life, like pieces on a chessboard. Even though Addison DeWitt is a thoroughly unlikable individual — such as when he brings Miss Casswell to a party to “entertain” some of the men — the audience cheers when he turns the tables on Eve. And blackmails her into doing what he wants. And, although I won’t give away the ending, I will say it’s absolutely appropriate.

It should be fairly obvious that I truly enjoyed All About Eve and think you will, too. I rate it a very rare five stars. I truly don’t see how it could have been improved.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Cast

  • Bette Davis (Marked Woman, Mr. Skeffington) … Margo. The aging Broadway star, who’s growing insecure. And Eve worms her way into her life. And hammers on those insecurities.
  • Anne Baxter (Angel on my Shoulder) … Eve. Anne Baxter does a wonderful job as Eve. Outwardly shy and quiet, actually sly and manipulative. Very reminiscent of Iago. Evil, with a smiling face. I absolutely love the ending, where the tables are turned on Eve!
  • George Sanders (Lured, Village of the Damned) … Addison DeWitt. George Sanders was very good at playing the manipulative villain. Which he does very well here, as the critic …. He finds out Eve’s real backstory, and uses it to blackmail her.
  • Celeste Holm (Come to the Stable) … Karen. Margo’s best friend, and Lloyd’s wife. She makes the mistake of trying to reconcile Margot with Eve.
  • Gary Merrill (Mysterious Island) … Bill Simpson. Margot’s faithful love. He stands by her, not matter what. Even when she wrongfully lashes out at him. Eve makes the foolish mistake of trying to steal Bill from Margot. All part of Eve’s scheme to steal Margot’s life.
  • Hugh Marlowe (Earth vs the Flying Saucers) … Lloyd Richards. Margo’s favorite playwright and collaborator. Karen’s husband.
  • Gregory Ratoff (What Price Hollywood) … Max Fabian
  • Barbara Bates (The Caddy) … Phoebe
  • Marilyn Monroe (Clash by Night) … Miss Casswell. Brought to a high-class party by Addison. Her purpose is to be eye candy — or worse — for some of the influential people there.
  • Thelma Ritter (Move Over Darling) … Birdie. Margot’s original assistant. She mistrusts Eve …. With good reason. A faithful friend to Margo.

Trivia

  • Bette Davis fell in love with her co-star Gary Merrill during the shoot of this movie. The two married in July 1950, a few weeks after filming was completed. They adopted a baby girl, whom they named Margot.
  • Holds the record for the most female acting Oscar nominations in a single film with four: Anne Baxter and Bette Davis’ for Best Actress and Celeste Holm and Thelma Ritter for Best Supporting Actress.
  • Apparently, Bette Davis and Celeste Holm got along like oil and water.
  • During the scene in the out-of-gas car, Margo tells Karen that she loves Bill, but she’s afraid that Bill is actually in love with “Margo Channing”, the stage persona, instead of Margo Channing the woman: “Bill’s in love with Margo Channing. He’s fought with her, worked with her, loved her… but ten years from now — Margo Channing will have ceased to exist. And what’s left will be, what?” Bette Davis and Gary Merrill, who married after filming this movie together, did indeed divorce almost exactly ten years to the day after their wedding.
  • Zsa Zsa Gabor kept arriving on the set because she was jealous of her husband George Sanders in his scenes with the young blonde ingénue Marilyn Monroe

Editorial review of All About Eve courtesy of Amazon

Joseph L. Mankiewicz writes and directs this classic award-winning drama starring Bette Davis and Anne Baxter. Eve Harrington (Baxter) is famous actress Margo Channing (Davis)’s biggest fan. When, by chance, she gets to meet the great lady, she quickly ingratiates herself into her life. Before long, however, she has become a bitter rival, stealing Margo’s Broadway role and causing turmoil in her personal life. George Sanders, Celeste Holm, Gary Merrill and Thelma Ritter co-star with Marilyn Monroe making an early film appearance. Both Davis and Baxter received Oscar nominations for their roles with the film winning six awards including Best Picture, Director, Screenplay and Supporting Actor (Sanders).

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