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One of the cool things about retro-watching classic Hollywood films are the secondary screens listing the secondary actors and actresses. For example, take "All About Eve" (1950):

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And I have to give yet-another shout-out to Edith Head, who has won more Academy Awards (8) than any woman in history (Walt Disney has her beat with 22, which could be a difficult number to surpass):

Screenshot 2017-04-15 at 8.12.27 PM.png:

I know two things about "All About Eve" going into the film: 1) It's one of the most famous movies ever made, and 2) I know nothing else about it. That is a *good* combination - I know it has Bette Davis in it (and also Marilyn Monroe from the above screen - if it's even possible, you might not recognize her at first unless you knew she was in the film (*)), and that it won an Academy Award for Best Picture from 1950, but that's about it - if I were writing a review of the film, you'd be getting a *v-e-r-y* pure critique, but I can hardly call what I do "reviews" so much as "calls for discussion" (because I want to enjoy the movie).

I'm on the border of doing a separate thread for Gary Merrill - I've seen him in more than enough things where he deserves one:

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Likewise George Sanders, who not only plays the entitled critic Addison DeWitt in "All About Eve," but also played the scoundrel Jack Favell ten years before in "Rebecca."

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I've seen so many of these actors over the past month - Hugh Marlowe (who played Lloyd Richards) was an important character in "The Day the Earth Stood Still," released just a year after this was.

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And can anyone give a better "eat-shit" look than Bette Davis?

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*** SPOILER ALERT ***

We all "know what happens" at the beginning of the film; it's how we get there that's the mystery. Yet, there are hints and clues throughout the movie (Eve (Anne Baxter) getting caught preening in front of the mirror with Margo's (Bette Davis's) gorgeous dress, for example).

Interestingly, the one brash person in the world of Margo - Birdie (Thelma Ritter) - is also the one who plays the fool, and I mean the Fool in King Lear: Pay attention to everything she says in the film so you don't need to watch it twice.

(*) This is such a great screen shot - remember my comment above about Marilyn Monroe. You can't really see Addison DeWitt (George Sanders), but it captures the essence of the three females *so well* (remember, Monroe wasn't famous yet, and she has a very minor role, but it still represents her in a picture-perfect way):

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A very interesting thing I noticed about "All About Eve" is the motif in the theme song, which is repeated in numerous places throughout the film - the first five notes are *exactly* the same as the first five notes in that of "Gone with the Wind."

Perhaps my favorite exchange of dialogue in the film, between a furious Margo Channing (Davis, the actress) and an equally furious Lloyd Richards (Marlowe, the playwright). An angry screaming match:

Richards: "Just when does an actress decide they're her words she's saying, and her thoughts she's expressing?"
Channing: "Usually at the point when she has to rewrite and rethink them, to keep the audience from leaving the theater!"
Richards: "It's about time the piano realized it has *not* written the concerto!"

One thing about Addison DeWitt, the rogue theater critic: He knows what he's doing. Yes, he's corrupt as hell, but he still knows what he's doing, and only someone so full of self-interest would take the time to do the research that he did, all about Eve.

If you understand the symbolism of this final scene, I like you, and want you to be a frequent poster in this forum; if you don't, please keep at it, watch as many great movies as you can, read as much as your time permits, and let's discuss things along the way.

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Likewise, if you understand why this is a genuinely great motion picture, but possibly a touch overrated, please also be a regular contributor (I don't really know why I'm saying these things, because I want everyone to be regular contributors here).

"All About Eve" is a must-see for all serious students of film.

 

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Two best actress nominees in a leading role (Bette Davis and Anne Baxter), two best actress nominees in a supporting role (Celeste Holm and Thelma Ritter), and the best supporting actor winner George Sanders!

(Of course it always matters what year you did your show and who was your competition, but that's very impressive!)

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8 hours ago, MC Horoscope said:

Two best actress nominees in a leading role (Bette Davis and Anne Baxter), two best actress nominees in a supporting role (Celeste Holm and Thelma Ritter), and the best supporting actor winner George Sanders!

(Of course it always matters what year you did your show and who was your competition, but that's very impressive!)

Very impressive. Along with "Titanic" (1997) and "La La Land" (2016), "All About Eve" is one of only three movies with 14 nominations - in fact, it stood alone with that number for 47 years, and considering its relative "smallness," it's even more impressive.

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8 hours ago, MC Horoscope said:

Two best actress nominees in a leading role (Bette Davis and Anne Baxter), two best actress nominees in a supporting role (Celeste Holm and Thelma Ritter), and the best supporting actor winner George Sanders!

(Of course it always matters what year you did your show and who was your competition, but that's very impressive!)

A point they frequently bring up in the FX Series "Feud: Bette and Joan," is that Bette was "robbed" of Best Actress honors that year because Anne Baxter pushed to be nominated in the Best Actress category rather than Supporting Actress." That feels like life imitating art, because that would be something Eve would do! 

I also find it interesting that Anne Baxter was chosen for the role, in part, because she resembled Claudette Colbert, who was being seriously considered for the role of Margo. The idea was that Eve would gradually look more and more like her idol as the film progressed. I think that would have been a nice touch. But then we wouldn't have had Bette Davis uttering that unforgettable line, "Fasten your seatbelts: It's going to be a bumpy night." 

On 4/16/2017 at 7:19 PM, DonRocks said:

(*) This is such a great screen shot - remember my comment above about Marilyn Monroe. You can't really see Addison DeWitt (George Sanders), but it captures the essence of the three females *so well* (remember, Monroe wasn't famous yet, and she has a very minor role, but it still represents her in a picture-perfect way):

Screenshot 2017-04-16 at 6.04.12 PM.png

I find it fascinating that you included that screen shot of the three actresses with Addison DeWitt. I actually paused on that scene as well while watching the film because I thought it perfectly captured the personalities of the three women, as well as their "agendas" for Addison DeWitt.

I am so glad I saw this film.

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