Bette Davis
Anne Baxter
George Sanders
Celeste Holm
Gary Merrill
Hugh Marlowe
Gregory Ratoff
Barbara Bates
Thelma Ritter
Marilyn Monroe

Joseph L. Mankiewicz



About the Film

Time: 138 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Genre: Drama/Romance

Won Academy Awards for Best Costume Design, Best Director, Best Picture, Best Sound, Best Supporting Actor (Sanders) and Best Screenplay. Nominated for 7 other awards.

ALL ABOUT EVE is a classic Hollywood film about fame, friendship, deceit and betrayal. It's so evil in points it could have been directed by Hitchcock. It takes place in the theater world on Broadway, where the aging female star is deposed by a younger counterpart. This film was nominated for 14 Academy Awards with good reason and holds up as wickedly, brutal entertainment to this day. You see every side of these characters, good, bad and indifferent. They may be stars, but they are so human it hurts.

Davis, who plays the star in the film and is the biggest one out of it, is amazing as an actress coming to terms with her life and where it's headed. She is so ballsy and vulnerable all at the same time, that you know her life is the best performance she's ever given. The film loses its fire when she's not onscreen, but Baxter, Holm and Ritter definitely give her a run for her money. The men, though each has a pivotal role in the way the story plays out, are merely supporting players. Their presence is required, but not always necessary. Baxter plays the title character, who portrays a real snake in the grass. You know from the minute she arrives on the scene that there's something not right about her simple little story and honest young face. You'd think these jaded theater people would be able to see right through her. Of course, if they did, we wouldn't have this wonderful film to watch.

ALL ABOUT EVE is not an original story per se. It's in fact one of the oldest in the book. Trusting professional gets taken in by seemingly naive amateur only to have the rug pulled out from under them as the amateur becomes the star. What makes EVE different is the outstanding dialogue and brilliantly, nuanced performances. Eve (Baxter) plays her part with wanton abandon, being the sweetest most helpful thing Margo (Davis) and company has ever seen. She originally gets noticed by the playwright's wife Karen (Holm), a celebrity by marriage, who took pity on Eve and introduces her to her hero Margo. Everyone is taken in by this young woman's hard luck story, especially Margo who has a central role, and they welcome her to their little group. The only one who expresses initial disbelief is Birdie (Ritter), Margo's maid and companion, but no one listens to her.

"Margo Channing: "I admit I've seen better days, but I'm still not to be had for the price of a cocktail, like a salted peanut."

It's decided that Eve should work as Margo's personal assistant to help her learn the ways of the theater and enable her to be close to her idol. What they don't understand, in the beginning, is that she's working for Margo, not to be near her, but to study her ways and become her. She uses hard work and flattering ways to get under the skin of everyone in the posse, including Margo's fiancé Bill Sampson (Merrill), a renowned theater director, and Lloyd Richards (Marlowe), Broadway's hottest screenwriter. It doesn't take long for Margo to understand what's happening to her and she soon begins to take steps to get Eve out of her life. Everyone is aghast by her behavior, thinking she's being unreasonable and childish. She, and Birdie, know otherwise.

It all comes to a head at Bill's belated birthday party, planned by Eve, where Margo gets incredibly drunk and says exactly what's on her mind, to all the partygoers chagrin. Of course, instead of exposing Eve for the conniving bitch she really is, it makes everyone feel sorry for her. It's at this point that all of Eve's plans come to fruition. She uses this momentum to trick Karen and seduce Lloyd into betraying Margo and giving her a chance to be onstage. It only gets more ugly from here, when it becomes apparent that Eve will do anything to secure her place in the theater. One way or another, she's going to be a star. She succeeds, but at what cost?

I just can't say enough about this film. If you haven't seen it you're missing out on one the best movies ever made. The acting, the direction, the screenplay are all wonderful, allowing you to enjoy this movie over and over again. Everyone is familiar with Davis' famous line "Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy night," but that doesn't begin to show the wit, sarcasm and honesty that spew forth from the actors mouths. The pace may be too slow for some, but this is a subtle piece that needs time to unravel. Once it gets it's hooks into you, you won't be able to stop watching. These characters are full-blooded and vibrant, ones you won't be able to forget. I usually don't agree with the Academy about what should win Best Picture, but in the case of ALL ABOUT EVE, I wish we had choices this good every year.

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