All About Eve
Release Year: 1950
Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Writer: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Starring: Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders, Celeste Holm, Gary Merrill, Hugh Marlowe, Gregory Ratoff, Barbara Bates, Marilyn Monroe, Thelma Ritter
Rating: Won 6 Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (George Sanders), Best Screenplay, Best Costume Design – Black & White, Best Sound – Recording. Nominated for 8 Oscars: Best Actress (Bette Davis), Best Actress (Anne Baxter), Best Supporting Actress (Celeste Holm), Best Supporting Actress (Thelma Ritter), Best Editing, Best Art Direction – Black & White, Best Cinematography – Black & White, Best Music. Won 1 Golden Globe: Best Screenplay. Nominated for 5 Golden Globes: Best Picture – Drama, Best Director, Best Actress – Drama (Bette Davis), Best Supporting Actress (Thelma Ritter), Best Supporting Actor (George Sanders). Won 2 prizes at Cannes: Best Actress (Bette Davis), Jury Special Prize. Nominated for Grand Prize of the Festival.
Moviegeek Sunday Classic #244, week 8 2019
Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter) insinuates her way into the life of fêted but ageing theatre star Margot Channing (Bette Davis) and her circle of influential theatre friends.
Some Best Picture winners from the early decades of the Oscars have all but disappeared from popular memory but All About Eve will most likely ring a bell for most people, and with good reason. This highly acclaimed film written and directed by Joseph Mankiewicz (Cleopatra, 1963) is a well-written character driven drama peopled with intriguing characters. If I were to give the whole story away (I’m not! Don’t worry) it would sound deceivingly simply, but it is so finely written and brilliantly acted that it is no such thing. In fact, if you come to it with no prior knowledge of the story, it is somewhat shocking. Davis (Mr. Skeffington, 1944) gives one of her most famous performances as the larger-than life theatre actress, no doubt drawing on her own infamous diva personality. There is a fiery temper there but also a surprisingly tenderness and vulnerability and Davis is simply superb. Baxter (The Ten Commandments, 1956) plays her opposite, in more ways than one, with a youthful innocence and eagerness that is a stark contrast to Davis’s crude Margot. The supporting cast is excellent as well, from Holm’s genuinely friendly playwright’s wife, to Merrill’s theatre director who is in love with Davis’s Margot and last but not least Sanders’s devious theatre critic. An undeniable classic.
Bette Davis and co-star Gary Merrill fell in love during filming and subsequently married. In real life as in the film he was a handful of years older than her. He became Bette Davis’s final husband and the marriage lasted for ten years. They adopted a baby girl and named her Margot like Davis’s character in the film.
Writer/director Joseph Mankiewicz was warned by Edmund Goulding that Bette Davis was a horror to work with, especially due to her on set behaviour and her tendency to rewrite her lines. However, Davis apparently found nothing to improve in Mnakiewiecz’s script and he later described as very professional and agreeable to work with.