Film Review of All About Eve: A Beloved Actress and Her Younger Boyfriend in The Way of an Eager Groupie and an Influential Critic
The skillful actress can play characters older and younger than herself. At a certain age, it nevertheless requires lots of imagination and make-up to be believable in younger roles. That also will be the age at which odds shift in favor of groupies and wannabes in the movie “All About Eve”.
All About Eve is a drama film.
The theater world is not a steady-state universe. The actress on top of her game must monitor threats from acquaintances, critics, and groupies in All About Eve, written and produced by Joseph L. Mankiewicz; and produced by Darryl F. Zanuck. Cinematography, editing, and music were respectively by Milton R. Krasner, Barbara McLean, and Alfred Newman.
The film is based upon The Wisdom of Eve published by Mary Caswell Orr Denham (1910-2006) in 1946. It lasts 135+ minutes. It was released by 20th Century Fox on October 13, 1950. It won six of fourteen Oscar nominations: Best Director, Black-and-White Costume Design, Picture, Screenplay, Sound Recording, and Supporting Actor.
The movie begins with the ceremony bestowing the Sarah Siddons Award upon its youngest recipient: Eve Harrington (played by Anne Baxter). Critic Addison DeWitt (played by George Sanders) identifies the four people key to Eve’s success: Karen Richards (played by Celeste Holm) then shares Eve’s story in flashbacks.
Eve approaches Karen in the alley. She confesses to admiring Broadway actress Margo Channing (played by Bette Davis). Her self-effacing devotion impresses Karen.
Karen introduces Eve to Margo, Margo’s maid Birdie Coonan (played by Thelma Ritter), Margo’s eight-years-her-junior boyfriend Bill Sampson (played by Gary Merrill), and playwright Lloyd Richards (played by Hugh Marlowe). Eve purports to be a war widow. She states that Margo’s performances prompted her following Margo’s tour from San Francisco to New York.
Eve becomes Margo’s assistant. She displays interpersonal and organizational skills. But Margo suspects hidden agendas upon discovering Eve’s weekly correspondence when Bill becomes a Hollywood director.
Margo’s understudy becomes pregnant. Karen gets Eve the position. Karen must read when Margo is two hours late. She overshadows Miss Casswell (played by Marilyn Monroe), whom the reading intends to showcase.
Karen dislikes Margo’s suspicions. She does not gas up Lloyd’s car during a weekend getaway. Margo is stranded. Eve plays Margo’s part in Aged in Wood.
Eve blackmails Karen for the role of Cora in Footsteps on the Ceiling, a young-girl part which Margo relinquishes to marry Bill. Eve does stupendously. But she is blackmailed by Addison, who knows her to be Gertrude Slojinski, paid to end an affair with a married Milwaukee brewer.
The movie ends with groupie Phoebe (played by Barbara Bates) arranging Eve’s luggage for Hollywood, flirting with Addison, and hiding Addison’s visit from Eve.
All About Eve shares back-stage reality-checks, happy endings, Marilyn’s humor regarding butlers/waiters and Clark Gable/sables, and uniformly magnificent performances.
Copyright: Monday, July 16, 2012 by Derdriu.