Eve (Anne Baxter) is waiting backstage to meet her "idol" aging Broadway Star, Margo Channing (Bette Davis). It all seems innocent enough as Eve explains that she has seen Margo in EVERY performance of the current play she is in. Only Playright critic DeWitt (George Sanders) sees through Eve's evil plan, which is to take her parts and fiancé, Bill Simpson (Gary Merrill) When the fiancé shows no interest, she tries for playwright Hugh Marlowe (Lloyd Richards) but DeWitt stops her. After she accepts her award, she decides to skip the after-party and goes to her room, where we find a young woman named Phoebe, who snuck into her room and fell asleep. This is where the "Circle of Life" now comes to fruition as Eve is going to get played the way she did Margo.
Claudette Colbert was originally cast as Margo Channing, but suffered a ruptured disc during filming on Three Came Home (1950) and had to withdraw. Bette Davis stepped into the role, even though 20th Century-Fox studio chief Darryl F. Zanuck and Davis couldn't stand each other, going back to when Davis walked out from her post as president of the Motion Picture Academy in 1941. See more »
Just before he enters Eve's suite, DeWitt swaps his cane from his left hand to the right. In following shot, shown from inside, he repeats the change. See more »
I had read comments about the quality of the writing in this film but I really had no idea to what extent this would elevate the experience. The fact is, it leaves me with no other choice than to give it a perfect 10. Unless you see this film, I don't think you'll have the necessary frame of reference with which to to base any expectations on. It's an incredibly engrossing, moving and often comedic experience, but time and time again what knocks you over is the absolute finesse with which this script was crafted. The fact that the acting and direction are flawless and surprisingly natural-seeming (most old movies usually seem stiff or people seem to "act" too much) only enhances it that much more. With this film, you can really imagine the *people* the actors are portraying.
"All About Eve" shows some similarity to one of my other favourite 50s films "A Face in the Crowd". Both are studies of fame and celebrity. Eve shows how a person will corrupt themselves in order to attain it, whereas A Face's premise is that fame corrupts those who find themselves in the spotlight. Both have themes that are perhaps even more resonant in our celebrity-obsessed culture now than when they were made. Interestingly, Eve predates A Face by several years.
And possibly most interesting of all is the honest and often raw way in which women are portrayed, the strength of their character and the power they wield. The male contingent is practically relegated to the back seat. One might be hard pressed to find a movie quite so "liberated" today. So what more can I say? If you love movies and you haven't yet seen it, you've suffered long enough; don't wait another day.
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