Tuesday, June 8, 2010

#158 All About Eve (1950)


Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Cast: Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders, Celeste Holm, Gary Merrill, Hugh Marlowe, Gregory Ratoff, Marilyn Monroe

Of all the despicable villains cast on-screen, what could be more vicious than a woman? My skin crawled the entire movie through. Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter) is the definition of pure evil.

All About Eve is story of theatre actress Margo Channing (Bette Davis) and her friends-the playwrights, directors, and sponsors who adore her. It's her story, of course, until Eve wanders in. Star-struck and simple in her dirty trench coat, she slowly works her way out of the rain and into Margo's dressing room, stuffed with a cascading gut of sweet talk and humble pie. Within ten moments of her screen presence, any woman in audience to this film could sense it-- Miss Harrington is anything but innocent.

The film is the twisted and confusing tale of Eve Harrington's life, intertwining with that of fame, friendships, and Ms. Channing. What on the surface can cooly play as another heavily-coated 1950 Hollywood dialogue picture... hides a cunning, fly trap of deception, cheating, and what I believe to be... the making of a great film. Never underestimate the viciousness of women, especially to each other. It's a private hell that exists only in our world, and it fascinates me to watch it from the outside sometimes.

The film also placates to other palettes. It has all the glamour of old Hollywood with champagne, elaborate gowns, and even a cameo from Marilyn Monroe herself.
The film won 6 Oscars including Best Male Actor (George Sanders), Best Director, Best Costuming, Best Sound, Best Screenplay, and even Best Picture. Other nominations included Best Leading Actress (both Baxter and Davis), Best Art Direction, Best Editing, Cinematography, and Music.

Yes please.

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