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Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Bette Davis as Margo
George Sanders as Addison DeWitt
Celeste Holm as Karen
Gary Merrill as Bill Simpson
Hugh Marlowe as Lloyd Richards
Gregory Ratoff as Max Fabian
Barbara Bates as Phoebe
Marilyn Monroe as Miss Casswell
Thelma Ritter as Birdie
Walter Hampden as Aged Actor
Randy Stuart as Eve's Pal on Telephone
Craig Hill as Leading Man in 'Footsteps on the Ceiling'
Leland Harris as Doorman
Storyline: Aspiring actress Eve Harrington maneuvers her way into the lives of Broadway star Margo Channing, playwright Lloyd Richards and director Bill Sampson. This classic story of ambition and betrayal has become part of American folklore. Bette Davis claims to have based her character on the persona of film actress Talullah Bankhead. Davis' line "Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night" is legendary, but, in fact, all of the film's dialog sparkles with equal brilliance.
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About EveryMan, About EveryWoman, About EveryLife
You will see yourself in every character in this very intelligent, entrancing movie. Though set in "the theatre," the story could just as easily have been told in a small town, a corporation – even a religious organization. Being set in the "glamorous" world of entertainment – its seems all the more timely in these days of fame, fortune and the insufficiency (almost shame) of being ordinary. The theatre setting also underscores the reality that the world is a stage, and all its people, players.

So much to study in this movie: the genuine, trusting (and romantic) human; the streetwise, good, hardworking human, who's seen it all and doesn't embrace it; the jaded, heart-hardened, deceitful loser with power, who admires the same and disdains human goodness; the ambitious sociopath who fools so many; the unsuspecting onlookers who see only the façade of success; the inescapable fact that supreme achievement has been had by very low characters; the painful passage of an aging woman into the light of knowing she's loved for being beautiful beyond her appearance, for being HER; the touching portrayal of her lover who remembers his love for her as he passes on a much younger, beautiful, talented actress; the sorrow of a (betraying) friend who discovers the frightened and lonely heart of her successful friend … The dialogue is sharp and clever, barked and growled, smarmy and tender… A truly human movie about being human. Go – find yourself in everyone!
"All About Eve" is the kind of movie that blows your mind, not because of special effect or something like that, but because of what movies are all about, a great direction, a great screenplay, and great acting.

Stage star Margo Channing(Davis) is friend to playwright Lloyd Richards(Marlowe) and his wife Karen(Holm), in love with director Bill Samson(Merill), and the idol of Eve Harrington(Baxter) who becomes her secretary-aide. Eve begins to dominate: she sends Bill Margo's birthday wishes and arranges a party for him, at which point Margo explodes. Eve becomes Margo's understudy and, when Margo misses a performance, critic Addison DeWitt gives her rave reviews while making acerbic remarks about aging actresses like Margo.

In it's first scenes, you can see an unusual style in this kind of movie, and it doesn't look old, even nowadays. The plot is not very entertaining, but the dialogues and the acting grabs your attention, and some quotes leave you speechless to describe how good they are, and it's memorable scenes, like the dialogues between Eve and Bill about the theater, and the last scene, which is probably the best one, are awesome.

The acting is almost perfect by all it's cast, except for Marilyn Monroe's short appearance, that with three or four lines, can show that she is not in the same acting level of the rest of the cast. Bette Davis is what really stands out (Although George Sanders as DeWitt is almost as good as her), she's funny, and know where to show her emotions, and when to hide it.

Verdict: Almost everything works, and it's a classic that should not be missed.
All About Eve
From Oscar winning, and Golden Globe nominated director Joseph L. Mankiewicz (Guys and Dolls, Cleopatra), I didn't know much about this classic drama, but with a good cast list, I was willing to try it. Basically ambitious Eve Harrington (Oscar nominated Anne Baxter) is very fond of actress Margo Channing (Oscar and Golden Globe nominated Bette Davis), and manages to get close to her boyfriend, and her friends Karen Richards (Oscar nominated Celeste Holm) and her play writer husband Lloyd Richards (Hugh Marlowe), director Bill Simpson (Gary Merrill) and producer Max Fabian (Gregory Ratoff). All the big shots, except for cynical critic Addison DeWitt (Oscar winning, and Golden Globe nominated George Sanders), believing she is only a naive and obsessive fan of Margo's, but Eve is much more cynical, manipulative and conniving than that. Using the lives of Margo and her friends, all along she planned to become an actress, and she achieves her goal of Broadway stardom, leaving a trail of unhappiness for everyone behind her. The end sees her accepting the highest award for any stage performer, and another fan wanting to see the now famous Eve, and it seems, this naive girl may have the same sneaky plans. Also starring Barbara Bates as Phoebe, then rising star Marilyn Monroe as Miss Casswell and Oscar and Golden Globe nominated Thelma Ritter as Birdie. Baxter may not be the conventional wicked witch/bunny boiler/psychopathic bitch villain, in fact, she may not even by the right person for the role, yet even with a few appearances, she is a good light villain. Davis is very good as the emotionally wrecked actress, then little known Monroe makes the most of her few minutes, same goes for Ritter. I can see why critics complained about it being too chatty, and yet it is this, being witty and cynical, that makes the film very watchable. It won the Oscars for Best Picture, Best Costume Design, Best Sound and Best Writing, Screenplay for Mankiewicz, and it was nominated for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing and Best Music for Alfred Newman, it won the BAFTA for Best Film from any Source, and it won the Golden Globe for Best Screenplay, and it was nominated for Best Motion Picture - Drama. Eve Harrington was number 23 on 100 Years, 100 Heroes & Villains, Bette Davis was number 45 on The 100 Greatest Movie Stars, she was number 2 on 100 Years, 100 Stars - Women, and she was number 17 on The World's Greatest Actor, she was also number 2 on 100 Years, 100 Stars - Womem, "Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night." was number 9 on 100 Years, 100 Quotes, the film was number 30 on Film 4's 50 Films You Must See Before You Die, and it was number 16 on 100 Years, 100 Movies. Very good!
Truly excellent
All About Eve was the award winning metafiction of 1950, a psychological study of someone who's willing to fake victimhood in order to get what she wants: the limelight.

The film is about an ageing theatre star and the theatrical milieu of her day - someone younger, prettier and seemingly hungrier has come along as a slightly naive, star-struck admirer who ends up employed as an understudy, but her motives are not what they seem.

The combination of real emotion, nuance, brilliant writing and acting make this film a standout. It is, by some peoples accounts however, a fairly modest production; there isn't any grandiose staging or 'cast of thousands' spectacle like in some old well-regarded classics. The film is about observation and intelligence though, not sentiment.
Miss Caswell has a first name!
I have watched this movie a hundred times and never get tired of it. I wish there were more movies today with the kind of witty dialog and classy actors and actresses that pepper this film. Bette Davis is superb. She IS Margo Channing. It's one of those movies that somehow brought together the perfect ensemble cast. I always see or hear something new every time I watch it. I just watched it the other night and heard Addison DeWitt call "Miss Caswell" (Marilyn Monroe) by her first name: it's Claudia! It's easy to miss and I don't believe many people catch that. It's at Bill Samson's party when people are gathering, right before he sends her over to meet Max Fabian.
"So many rare qualities"
In the early 50s, as the old studio system fell into decline, the producer-directors and writer-directors began to muscle in. All About Eve, written and shot by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, was one of the first major triumphs of this new breed of filmmaker. Although it is about actresses, in it writers and directors are cynically lauded as those who "construct a tower so that the world can applaud a light which flashes on top of it", while stars are dismissed as "pianos" who ought to realise "they did not write the concerto". But upon seeing the performances in All About Eve, all one can say is what lights... what pianos!

Let's begin with the skillful turns of Bette Davis and Anne Baxter. The styles of these two players, like their characters, are mirror images of each other. Davis, true to type, projects a callous and world-weary exterior, and yet I am struck by the depth and sincerity of her emoting, for example as she listens to Eve's sob story in the dressing room scene, or the tenderness she clearly feels for Gary Merrill. It's a depth that it is essential for her character, and yet sensibly she doesn't allow it to dominate, just letting it shine through at key moments. Baxter by contrast is a model of girlish innocence and boundless altruism, yet beneath the surface shows herself to be a treacherous, cold-hearted lizard of a woman. And like Davis's inner warmth, Baxter only reveals that in brief flashes. Hidden depths are something of a running theme in the acting here. Celeste Holm is ostensibly a naive and trusting figure, yet she expertly lays bare the strength of her character in later scenes. Even George Sanders's trademark suave veneer cracks once or twice, giving way to that sharp end of his cynicism which he normally masked.

And yet, these supreme talents of the acting profession have been carefully orchestrated by one who has certainly styled himself a builder of cinematic towers. Mankiewicz was a brilliant arranger of motion pictures, and this was far and away his best effort to date. His direction is subtle on the surface - clear, direct shot compositions with no fancy tricks, an "invisble" camera which only moves to follow the actors - but Mankiewicz himself has hidden depths, and the shooting of All About Eve is in truth a work of considerable complexity. Although his aim was to draw attention the players in the foreground, his work is all about backgrounds. Take the opening scene at the awards ceremony. When we are introduced to the central figures, look at how unnaturally still the extras in the background are. It is the equivalent of shooting these principle players against a blank wall. When Eve goes to accept her award the tactic is reversed. The crowd claps excitedly while Davis et al remain eerily motionless. At other times Mankiewicz's use of backgrounds becomes a direct commentary on events, such as the shot of Davis next to a sign saying "Handle with Care".

And so Mankiewicz is a true "tower constructor" of the type described in All About Eve. He is not a show off, and his work though elaborate is all about highlighting the performances and the characters. But it would be doing a major disservice to this wonderful cast to deride them as mere flashing lights, for to quote another picture concerning performance and production, even the most skilled conjurer cannot pull a rabbit out of a hat if there is not already a rabbit in the hat (That's from The Red Shoes, by the way). All About Eve may be shot through with pessimism about the dramatic arts, yet it is the very smoothness of its collaboration - the skill of the tower builders and the brightness of the lights, if you will, both of which are equally important - that make it an engaging and enthralling piece of movie-making.
Brilliant Dialogues and Surprising Storyline
The storyline is one of the most original and beautiful ones ever written for the big screen The dialogues are sharp and witty. So the Oscars for writing and screenplay is spot on The way the movie moves, the audience (at least me) is held in rapt attention and never once does the pace drop or the intrigue lose intensity. So the Oscar for direction is also rightfully deserved. If there was an award for looking beautiful on screen, it should have gone to Bette Davis. But unfortunately it is for acting and that no one got except Mr. Dewitt. I am not too sure about this.

All in all, if you have not watched this movie, your movie watching experience is incomplete. Definitely a movie to watch
You cannot watch this only once
There are not many films that I can just watch over and over again, and still appreciate. I'm also someone who is usually critical of even the most iconic of films- don't believe me? Well, everyone in my family seemed to love "The Quiet Man" yet I absolutely hate it! "All About Eve" though is a film that I can still watch over and over. Nearly everything about this film is perfect- Bette Davis is iconic as the fading actress, Ann Baxter is appropriately despicable as the young actress yearning (and eventually succeeding) to replace her, and Celeste Holm, Thelma Ritter are wonderful as, respectively, Davis' supportive best friend and the maid who does not quite trust her employer's new protégé. Marilyn Monroe has a small role as a graduate of the Copacabana School for Dramatic Arts, and Barbara Bates plays a crucial role at the film's conclusion.

However, George Sanders steals the show for me each time as the diabolical critic. His voice always gets me, and I want to watch what he will do each time.

As much as I like Judy Holliday, I do think Bette Davis (or Gloria Swanson) should have won the Oscar for this film. Both of those were powerhouse performances while Holliday's was comedic and did not require much depth in my opinion. But I digress.

'All About Eve" is a film that you should not miss.
A 'Good' Movie Is As Far As I'll Go
I had never watched this "Best Picture of 1950" until a couple of years ago because it just looked like one of those 1950s melodramas (translation: soap operas) that I can't stand, and it starred an older Bette Davis, who was only appealing to me in her youth in the 1930s. However, after hearing and reading so many rave reviews of this, especially on the IMDb Classic Board, and the fact it was out on DVD, I decided to check it out.

I was glad I did. I liked it, thought it was entertaining and worth the 138-minute investment. I still didn't find it as good as advertised - at least for my tastes - but it was still a pretty involving story with good acting. How it could have been up for so many Academy Awards - 14, I believe - is beyond me, however.

Neverthess, it's main attribute, as advertised, is the dialog which sparkles with "intelligence," as the Liberal film critic-elitists like to refer to it. It's a "smart" comedy, they say from their ivory towers. Make no mistake: the dialog is good, but I've heard just as good from some film noirs and other movies. Movies put more of a premium on that sort of stuff back in the days before computerized special-effects and limited attention spans took over.

The best dialog came from George Sanders, playing a sharp-tongued theater critic. Davis was next, which is no surprise. Her career, thanks to her own real- life efforts to get good roles, was doted with characters that had good dialog. This role kept her Hollywood career going as it had been fading as she approached 40 years of age. She was beginning to look older than her years and many times that spelled "death" to an actress, but she was not the average actress.

The only character in the film I couldn't stand was "Eve," by Anne Baxter, not for her role but for the way she delivered her lines. Baxter didn't do this at first, but as the film went on she kept finishing sentence after sentence with a whisper. It was extremely annoying and affected. People don't talk like that!

Overall, for a film dominated by dialog for almost two hours and 20 minutes, it did a great job of holding one's interest. I only found one part that really lagged. It's a good movie - a well-crafted story - but putting in almost-mythical status as one of the greatest of all times, as some have, is a bit exaggerated.
Acclaimed, but I found it hard to watch
I am now on about my fourth attempt to watch All About Eve. I find it a very hard slog. Each time I manage about 20 minutes, and then I have to find something else to do.

The acting is mechanical and stagey. There is no reacting here, only people waiting to give their next witty riposte. An occasional witty remark is fine. It gets tiring when everyone is witty. This has nothing to do with the period. The wisecracking in 1940's His Girl Friday or 1941's Ball of Fire, for example, is much more natural and believable.

There is no doubt that a lot of the script is great, and the premise is groundbreaking for its time. But a lot of the lines are clunkers or non sequiturs, and these are delivered with the same smugness as the good ones, which adds to the impression that the characters are not thinking about what they're saying, but just reading the text and the stage directions. Celeste Holm gives the closest to what I would say is a believable performance.

Bette Davis is the biggest disappointment. Whether she's playing happy, sad, or angry, it's always reined in, without any real emotions getting through. My 7 is for the script alone. If I had to score the acting and direction separately they would be less.
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