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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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A Miracle Of A Movie
What a genius Joseph L Manckiewicz was. A literary script that is totally accessible. A melodrama for the thinking man. A film that is as engrossing and entertaining every time you see it. Bette Davis touches all the raw nerves of her mythological career. Anne Baxter never went this far. Thelma Ritter became a sort of icon. Marilyn Monroe gives us a preview of forthcoming attractions as a graduated from the "Copacabana" academy of dramatic arts. Celeste Holm represents us, all of us and George Sanders creates a prototype for a cultured monster that is immediately recognizable. I don't recall another film in which the nature of selfishness is so wittily dissected. A total triumph.
***** Perfect!
Here's perfect writing if ever a movie ever had it-where did Joseph L. Mankiewicz come up with these people? Who would have thought he could not only revive Bette Davis' career with her greatest-ever role, but actually make her even more fascinating than she ever was before? Davis plays famous and established actress Margo Channing, a self-centred and tough but vulnerable woman who is purused relentlessly by Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter), a seemingly innocent woman who worships Channing-she even becomes her personal assistant. However, her devotion soon becomes sinister, and Margo lets her friends know, though they just think she's being selfish and unfair. Celeste Holm is excellent as Margo's best friend, who at first is on Eve's side but eventually sees how conniving Eve can be and how ruthless she is in climbing to the top. The party scene early on in the film features some of the film's best lines (`Fasten your seat belts…it's going to be a bumpy night!'), though my personal favourite is when Davis tells Baxter to put her award `where you heart should be'; Margo Channing is just about the best female character of the fifties. Features Marilyn Monroe in an early role.
All about Eve and others
I always enjoy seeing a movie about actors, it's very interesting to think that they are acting like actors when they are actors. This movie particularity the actors, did a great job playing actors. It's was witty, sassy, fun to watch and really well made and shot. The drama that unfolded in All About Eve was realistic but also had that dramatic flair that we love in these movies and imagine is what's happening behind the curtains in a theater. Romance, fights, betrayal, etc. This movie had most of it and portrayed it really well, so that the audience (me) was caught up in the story lie into the end and not regretting that she had watched it.
Fasten your seat belts, this will be a turbulent ride!
ALL ABOUT EVE is a film that adorn the phenomenal acting, sharp dialogue and a superior "on the verge of taste" film satire.

On the other hand I see this film as brilliant packaging reproach addressed to the „High Society". Anyone who tries to fly high, often falls low. The essence of the story is in a relentless ambition where combustible absolutely all the characters in their own way. The director is probably long observed the atmosphere in the theater. All figures are in some way false charming, self-centered and perishable. In the film I liked female domination. Relationships based on intrigue, conflict and illusion are extremely popular.

Conflicts are brilliantly conceived and are full of ambition, pride, deceit and hypocrisy. Given the excellent and concise dialogues, everything seems so lively. All characters have a certain way emotionally hurt and punished.

I am simply thrilled with acting. Characterization is unbelievable. The characters in this film delight and terrified at the same time.

Anne Baxter as Eve Harrington is a female spider characterized by icy peace and ruthless ambition. Her network woven around prey and finally takes his place, and eventually it becomes the prey of larger predator. Bette Davis as Margo Channing is the most intriguing character in the film. Perfect acting, age, a sharp tongue and fierce ego. Bette Davis is an actress for this role. I enjoyed her performance. George Sanders as Addison DeWitt is walked poison. Character that in every sense pulling the strings. Sanders is always excellent in the role of classy villain. Gary Merrill as Bill Sampson is sensitive and promising because the character of a good heart and inability to tame the domineering „wife". Hugh Marlowe as Lloyd Richards is uncertain character who has more kindness than sense. Celeste Holm as Karen Richards is an attractive and well-meaning character. Maybe a bit naive. There are such women.

The young actress, an older actress, film critic, director, playwright, housewife ..... and Marilyn Monroe. Well, it's a completely different story.
Unforgettable Characters, Writing, and Acting
The fact that "All About Eve" features one of the great Bette Davis's very best performances would in itself be enough to recommend it highly. Add in a host of other great actors and characters, with some of the best writing to be found in any movie, and the result is one of the greatest movies of all time, which most viewers remember long afterwards.

The basic story is fairly simple - at the beginning, we see young actress Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter) receiving a prestigious award, and for most of the film we go back to watch her rise to the top, mostly as seen through the eyes of those around her. Davis plays Margo Channing, who is Eve's role model, a great but now older actress who both affects and is affected by young Eve's career.

There is a wonderful collection of characters, each with distinctive and interesting personalities. Their relationships with each other are fascinating, and the film makes full use of their potential. The dialogue is terrific, and the cast does it full justice. The characters and their lines are all perfect for the performers who portray them - George Sanders as the cynical and calculating columnist, Gary Merrill as the high-strung director, Hugh Marlowe as the sophisticated playwright, and so on through the entire outstanding cast. After watching this movie, whenever you see any of these actors again you may well think of them in these roles.

"All About Eve" is a testimony to how great a movie can be when it is based simply on the important basics of writing, acting, and directing. Anyone who enjoys older movies, or who appreciates good theater of any kind, will find that it is as good or better each time that you watch it.

Well done, but the plot isn't for me
I understood the basic ideas of the plot, and the motivations of each character. However, in most of the scenes I wasn't feeling drawn in, and it often became difficult to watch. I think a substantial amount of content could have been cut, and it would make for a tighter and more concise film. Karen (I think that's her name, the person who first introduces Margo to Eve), I can't remember almost anything about. Some scenes, like the ones between Addison and Eve, were really great.

I originally thought I was going to have to write that Eve seems like a fake character, too happy and childlike, etc. but that changes. She goes through an excellent character arc. Margo was amazing, and really seemed to be a genuine, weary star.
"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.
Great screenplay acted out by great performers
Some films earn their place in the canon due to the importance they had at the time of their release. All about Eve was no doubt important, but it also holds up better today than many movies released this decade. It's wit is just as sharp, and the performances are still top notch. It's a movie about hunger for power, staying relevant, and realizing that nothing lasts forever - all of which are still interesting themes today. (Staying relevant will maybe never lose its relevancy.) While the cast is stellar all around, Bette Davis' performance really stands out as just amazing. She's the highlight of any scene she is in, and when she's not a part of the scene, you miss her. Much of it is because she really captures the character (which might have been easy for her), but also because of the writing. So many movies around this time has excellent dialogue. It's like they didn't care if it was realistic at all, it was more important that it was good.

There's only one scene I really object to, and with a fear of spoiling it, I'll say it's a scene between DeWitt and Eve in hear bedroom near the end, where Eve's reaction feels either over done (which does not match her character at all), or, if meant to be genuine, seems uncharacteristic of her. Perhaps it's just not aged that well? If so, it's unlike the rest of the movie.
Backstabbing, Backstage
The story of an actress in decline, past her prime, offered at the last moment to an actress who herself was in decline and past her prime. The parallels between fiction and reality could not have been more blurred as they were during the creation of what has been considered to be one of the greatest movies about the theater and one of Bette Davis' most indelible performances. Starting from the link between Davis and Elisabeth Bergner via a remake Davis acted in 1946 called A STOLEN LIFE -- itself a version previously performed by Bergner, and snowballing into the anecdote that Bergner herself had been the apparent victim of an unusual admiration by a young female actress of whose identity and life little is known (unless you read Sam Stagg's book "All About All About Eve"), ALL ABOUT EVE is as interesting -- and at times, even more so -- as to its backstory to what was presented on screen as the final result.

By 1949 Bette Davis was strictly on the way out. She had been in a 4-year slump with movies that were failing commercially even when they still got fair to good reviews, with the notable exception of BEYOND THE FOREST in which Davis played a woman much too young for her age and donned a black wig that made her look even older. Many of the roles Davis (later) admitted as to wanting to have played while she was still at Warner Bros. were going to her professional rival Joan Crawford; indeed, Crawford, relegated to second fiddle at MGM with hand-me-down roles Norma Shearer rejected, and coming out of her strong debut at Warner's with MILDRED PIERCE, a role Davis herself rejected and one that gave Crawford her only Oscar win, was now getting the better pictures at Warner's. From MILDRED PIERCE to FLAMINGO ROAD, Crawford was back on top, if at least temporarily so.

Such a thing must have made Davis mad. Seeing that the camel's back had been broken with the failure of BEYOND THE FOREST, she was now a free agent, but needed work. PAYMENT ON DEMAND was a mostly forgotten film she'd made which did not receive a release until the 1951, and was so far the only job offer she was getting. The notorious story as to how she got the role of Margo Channing -- where Claudette Colbert sprained her back -- is the stuff of Hollywood legend, but it ensured Davis one more chance to assume a major role in a major movie. What she possibly didn't know was that this would be the one that would define her as a screen icon -- forever she'd be quipped with her most quoted line from this film: "Fasten your seatbelts -- it's gonna be a bumpy night." And she couldn't have foreseen that on set of ALL ABOUT EVE she'd also meet and marry the man who played her lover on screen: Gary Merrill.

There is so much that can be spoken about this timeless classic. It's such an iconic movie, a thing of elegant beauty that hasn't been repeated since and one of the most quotable movies of all time. Again, highly recommended and a must-read is Sam Stagg's book which tells everything, down from the casting list for each role (at one point Gertrude Lawrence and Joan Crawford were up for Margo Channing), wardrobe, stories as told by the actors themselves, Celeste Holm's resentment of Davis on the set -- a thing that was probably Davis' fault, since she wasn't known for being social and Holm from then on took great offense and to this day remains offended. And on and on. Snippets of dialog that never made it into the film is presented in the book, and it's understandable: it would have bogged down the story a bit much. (Would it that Mankiewicz had done the same thing with his dialog in CLEOPATRA!) A fascinating book.

And a fascinating movie that over a half a century later can still be seen for what it is: a scathing portrayal of backstabbing, backstage, and a complex study of a professional and social climber and what she will do to ensure success. Full of in-jokes that have to be heard to be believed, and one of the oddest pairings of a male-female dynamic in Anne Baxter and George Sanders who play a game of cat and mouse throughout with a terrific, sadistic denouement, it's one of the essentials, a movie that has to be studied in order to admire movies, not because of its visuals -- if anything, ALL ABOUT EVE fails in presenting ground-breaking visuals and opts for a play-like feel -- but for its entirety. Razor-sharp performances from everyone -- ranging from the film's major parts, played by Davis herself, Anne Baxter, Celeste Holm, Thelma Ritter, George Sanders, Gary Merrill, Gregory Ratoff, Hugh Marlowe, to the minor players -- Marilyn Monroe, Barbara Bates, and Randy Stuart (or THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN fame).
Bitterly Funny and Perfectly Acted
All About Eve (1950)

**** (out of 4)

Broadway star Margo Channing (Bette Davis) invites a woman named Eve (Anne Baxter) into her life because she's an adoring fan but before long the much older Margo begins to fear that the younger woman wants more than friendship. Soon Eve's plans of becoming a star herself come out and she's not going to let anything get into her way.

ALL ABOUT EVE was, at the time, the film that captured the most Oscar-nominations with fourteen and it eventually won six including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor for George Sanders. If you're a fan of movie stars, directors, producers or anyone in that profession then ALL ABOUT EVE is certainly a must see. Sure, perhaps it does run on a bit too long but there's no question that it contains one of the greatest ensemble acting classes that you'll ever see as well as some perfect direction by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and his screenplay is bitterly sharp and funny.

So much has been said about this film over the years that I couldn't possibly add anything new. What I really respect about the film is the fact that it really could have gone over-dramatic but instead it plays out like a black comedy where we're dealing with some at times ugly people who get out done by a couple snakes in the grass. The way the mystery of this Eve character plays out is so flawlessly done that it's impossible to hate her because you see her game and her goal. You then start to see that she probably didn't do anything that others wouldn't have done also.

Davis gets the majority of the credit in the acting department and there's no doubt that she's perfect and this helped rebuild the second stage of her career. As great as she is I think she sometimes overcrowds what others in the film do. Both Gary Merill and Hugh Marlow are terrific in the role of the supporting men. You've got Marilyn Monroe in an early bit and she's really funny here. Thelma Ritter is always fun to watch. Then you've got the three best performances in the film. Celeste Holm is simply divine on so many levels here as the woman who opens the gate for the snake to come in. Baxter is simply wonderful at playing so many different sides of this character. There are so many adjectives used about her character and the actress really delivers everything you could hope for. Then there's Sanders who is perfectly delightful as the rather crooked writer with his own game to play.

ALL ABOUT EVE contains a really terrific script for these great actors to sink their teeth in. The film is brutally honest and funny about stardom and what one will do to capture their glory. The way the film plays out is wonderfully done and there's no doubt that the film deserves its reputation.
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