All About Eve (1950) Poster

(1950)

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9/10
Good movie
shakes-1410 August 1999
All about Eve is a good portrayal of an actress conniving her way to the top. Anne Baxter is extraodinary as Eve Harrington. Bette Davis is also great playing Margo Channing. After watching this movie you will see why it won best picture of 1950 at the oscars.
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9/10
They don't write 'em like this anymore-magnificent!
fmorrison4 August 2000
If anyone doubts that verbal literacy in the movies is dead, watch this one and compare it to any movie in any language made since. With the exception of "The Usual Suspects", it seems that no one much cares about a coherent story with sharp dialogue. "Eve" isn't my favorite movie to watch, but, along with "Sunset Boulevard", it's one of my favorites to listen to.
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9/10
Wonderful film, great acting
rowe-47 August 2000
This film is a masterpiece, full of great acting (hurrah esp. for bette davis!) all around, and a wonderfully written script. The background info is given subtly and gradually (e.g. Margo's relationship with Bill, the critic's reputation, etc.) and the dialogue is sharp (always) and witty (where needed). Wonderful poetic justice tale and not-the-usual romance relationships. A real bite of life throughout. A true classic.
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9/10
Incredible
smartbomb29 August 2000
I had read comments about the quality of the writing in this film but I really had no idea to what extent this would elevate the experience. The fact is, it leaves me with no other choice than to give it a perfect 10. Unless you see this film, I don't think you'll have the necessary frame of reference with which to to base any expectations on. It's an incredibly engrossing, moving and often comedic experience, but time and time again what knocks you over is the absolute finesse with which this script was crafted. The fact that the acting and direction are flawless and surprisingly natural-seeming (most old movies usually seem stiff or people seem to "act" too much) only enhances it that much more. With this film, you can really imagine the *people* the actors are portraying.

"All About Eve" shows some similarity to one of my other favourite 50s films "A Face in the Crowd". Both are studies of fame and celebrity. Eve shows how a person will corrupt themselves in order to attain it, whereas A Face's premise is that fame corrupts those who find themselves in the spotlight. Both have themes that are perhaps even more resonant in our celebrity-obsessed culture now than when they were made. Interestingly, Eve predates A Face by several years.

And possibly most interesting of all is the honest and often raw way in which women are portrayed, the strength of their character and the power they wield. The male contingent is practically relegated to the back seat. One might be hard pressed to find a movie quite so "liberated" today. So what more can I say? If you love movies and you haven't yet seen it, you've suffered long enough; don't wait another day.
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9/10
SENSATIONAL!!!!!!!!!!!
martinchicago12 February 2001
I could use thousands of beautiful words to describe this movie.Unfortunately, I am not allowed to use more than 1000.EVERYONE IN THE CAST WAS INCREDIBLE.Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, Thelma Ritter, and my adorable Celeste Holm should have won the academy awards.Anne Baxter made a wonderful performance as an envious bad poor girl which goal was to be famous.Bette Davis,the star in the fiction and in real life as well, was an excellent actress with a very bad temperament, but good person and very professional.Thelma Ritter had a worse temperament than Davis, but she was as good person as Davis was.And celeste Holm was the best.She made a memorable performance as Davis' best friend in this movie. She was credible, her expressions, the tone of her voice, her friendship to Davis,everything was perfect.Congratulations Mrs.Celeste Holm!!!!!!!! I am 30 years old and I suggest you to see this unforgettable movie.
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9/10
A True Classic!
mccrew179 September 2001
This is one movie I can watch over and over again. This was a well-deserved Best Picture Winner, and George Sanders (Addison DeWitt) earned his Best Supporting Actor award. The only problem is that Bette Davis did not win the Best Actress Oscar! Clearly, Margo Channing was her finest hour as an actress.

Wonderful performances all-around from Davis to Anne Baxter to Gary Merrill, to Celeste Holm, to Thelma Ritter to Marilyn Monroe, even. It contains crisp, witty dialogue that just isn't heard in movies anymore.

A true classic indeed.
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9/10
Very Articulate
Irecken6 February 2002
A fine and literate motion picture, elevated by the supreme cast. First on the list of accolades is ofcourse Bette Davis, who, although she so often must carry a film on her own shoulders and would have been able to slack off here with other performances, doesn't. She is honest and unruly in her most famous role. Anne Baxter is next on the line of honors, who is scheming and conniving without becoming unladylike. Then Celeste Holm, who is sensitive and moving as a playwright's wife. George Sanders as Addison DeWitt defined the word "acidic" with his performance, and then Gary Merrill is fine as the man who dares tame Bette Davis. In smaller roles are Marilyn Monroe and Barbara Bates, who are both excellent.
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9/10
A dazzlingly witty and superbly acted masterpiece.
taikman18 June 2002
'All About Eve' is one of those classic films that few of my generation have heard of or will ever see. I wouldn't have picked it out of the library collection had a friend not recommended it me. It's a shame it's not better known, as it is a truly great film.

Margo Channing, aging theatre star and prima donna, is introduced by her friend Karen to Eve, an apparently obsessed young fan. Eve has a tragic story to tell and is taken under the wings of Margo and Karen. But the movie makes clear from the start that Eve is not what she seems, and soon she is causing ripples in the lives of both older women. Ripples that grow into whirlpools.

The script is a gem, funny and very clever, full of lines like this:

Lloyd Richards: You've developed a certain cynicism since you've been married to me. Karen Richards: I developed that cynicism the day I discovered I was different from little boys.

Characters frequently trade lines like barbed arrows, but it's not all dazzling wit: there's plenty of fascinating insights into the characters' personalities, and also a couple of rather chilling moments, when a lot of tension that has built up gets released. It's both a brilliant satire and a compelling drama.

The actors are all excellent, with Bette Davis as Margo and Anne Baxter as Eve standing out. Davis gives Margo real depth: she's a complex mix of ego and insecurity, warmth and venom. Baxter is pitch-perfect as Eve: just a little too sweet, just a bit too modest. It's a performance of a performance. Both got Oscar nominations for Best Actress (the movie recieved 12 and won 6, including Best Picture). There's also a glittering cameo by Marilyn Monroe. She was not famous yet, but somehow, despite the classy actors around her, she draws the eye in every scene she's in.

Go and track it down. It's worth the effort.

9/10
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9/10
How many ways can one spell 'backstab'?
gaityr26 June 2002
If you haven't heard about ALL ABOUT EVE, what planet are you living on? It's one of the most referenced films in history; it sneaks into single-white-female films ever after; it has a brilliant cast and script and direction... and, oh yes, it scored 14 Oscar nominations (equalled only by the not-as-witty-or-worthy 'Titanic') and 6 wins. Even if you haven't actually *seen* the film, you just can't consider yourself a movie fan if you haven't at least heard of it.

There is so much to dwell on with this film--the direction, the script (zingers flying so thick and fast it would take years and about 100 viewings to get them all straight, much less memorise them!), its clever themes. What makes it stand out, though, really is the cast that was assembled to bring it to the screen. Bette Davis never gave a finer performance than her Margo Channing here--at times shrewish and a harlot, at others vulnerable and little more than a child. Who could have pulled it off but her? Ann Baxter too does fine, subtle work as the Eve of the title: it's a difficult role to pull off with the proper complexity that will allow for varying interpretations of the character. Baxter manages it. The supporting cast is fine as well, Celeste Holm (almost unrecognisable from her turn in 'High Society') as the gullible good friend Karen; Gary Merrill playing Margo's paramour to great and believable effect; and yes, the Oscar-winning George Sanders as the ultimate slimeball, Addison DeWitt. And who could forget Marilyn Monroe in her small part? She glitters--all "fire and magic"--even in the ten minutes of screen time she has.

A fine, fine film--one of the best of the backstage films Hollywood was so fond of producing. Brilliant writing, with the story told through interspersed different points of view. Great observation, as well, of some of the things that make women, especially career women, tick. Yes, it *is* somewhat sexist, with the claim that whatever career a female has, she must ultimately work at being a *woman*. It's not a belaboured point though, thank goodness. In the final analysis, ALL ABOUT EVE is definitely a classic film that truly deserves the label of 'classic'.
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9/10
A superb movie!
perfectbond12 December 2002
All About Eve is a superb movie in all areas of film production. First and foremost a top notch story has been crafted with excellent dialogue. Director Joseph M. (I know I'll misspell his last name!) gets the most out of his all star cast. Bette Davis is the star (both in real life and as Margo in the movie) and she delivers as usual in her role as the aging stage star who feels threatened by an up and comer. But I thought Anne Baxter was the premier performer in this movie. She is simply outstanding as the ambitious and duplicitous aspiring actress Eve Harrington who ingratiates herself to Margo. It's hard to believe she didn't make a bigger name for herself along the lines of Davis. The three male leads are up to par with the ladies as well. A minor quibble is that Marilyn Monroe's character didn't have a larger role. She is simply gorgeous in this movie. It must have been because she hadn't yet become the star she would be in later years. 9/10.
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9/10
a well-cast classic
didi-514 May 2003
Bette Davis has her best role in years as tired actress Margo Channing, supported by Anne Baxter (ambitious hanger-on Eve), Gary Merrill (her real-life partner at the time playing the same role on screen), George Sanders (Addison de Witt, a classic name and character if there ever was one), Celeste Holm (the best friend), and the list goes on ... From its early scenes when Eve moves from the stage door into the presence of Margo after nights of freezing in the cold, to the perfect ending, where Eve discovers there was a flaw in her plan after all, this is a perfect film to watch over and over. It's larger than life, acerbic, and scripted/acted to the highest standard. Made into a fabulous musical some years later (Applause) which featured gravel voiced Lauren Bacall as Margo.
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9/10
Bette Davis in her best!
Emerenciano10 January 2004
I won't follow many people's opinion that say Bette Davis is the best actress ever, but I must say she was brilliant. To be honest, I have only seen three movies with her: "Jezebel", "Of Human Bondage" and "All About Eve", but it was enough for me to conclude she was fully talented. Here we have the chance to see her in the best performance of the three ones I have cited. The film itself is really interesting. The story is good and the cast is just great! Anne Baxter, George Sanders and Celeste Holm also brought beauty and talent to this movie.

My rate 9/10
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9/10
All about Eve, indeed.
JamisonC7 February 2004
The vote history indicates that the youth like this film the least, and

I'm not surprised. I am pleasantly surprised that men and women

rate it highly overall. I'm sure that those same youth will appreciate

the film when they view it as adults. Why? This is one of the best

studies of the fair gender ever made into a movie. Each of the

major feminine personality traits is displayed in detail, inside of

the metaphor for civilization: theater. The examination of 'Adam's'

relationship with 'Eve' is just as accurate. All contained within a

well-acted and entertaining story. An amazing summary of human

nature; to watch this movie is to watch ourselves. Bravo.
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9/10
savage self-commentary
TevildoVardoMeiota18 May 2004
Before Harvey Pekar (American Splendor), Spaulding Grey (Swimming to

Cambodia), and Woody Allen (Play it Again Sam) there was the self-referenced and self-absorbed All About Eve. Nothing is as it seems in the miasma of ego, posturing, deception and self-promotion. A deliciously savage self-commentary, and none escapes unscathed.

My own connection to this film is when Eve, after clawing her way to the top, actually just forgets the actual award in the taxi. I did an analogous faux pas when I won an award at a stodgy trade convention, I left the trophy (and about a month's salary) on the tables of an establishment where women disrobed in

exotic fashion. I was saved embarrassment by one of the dancers running the thing out to my taxi as we were pulling away.
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9/10
Wow!! This is good..
vjeet_a5 September 2004
One of the best movie I have seen. Really really good stuff.

Movies related to Hollywood careers and young people's passion for it is often portrayed in movies, but this one is totally awesome. Movie start a little slowly and takes up a gradual progress and eventually becomes really interesting. There is something in this movie that keep you interested. Script and Dialogues are well written and best played. Apart from enjoyment there is something to learn also. Careers in glamor world aren't a piece of cake. There are all about guts you got other than your talent, and thats All about Eve. Watch it fellas!!

Also see this Movie 'Todo Sabre Mi Madre' if you like this one.

-Vishy
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9/10
Fire and Music
rmax3048232 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This story provided an excellent opportunity for the people involved in this film to turn out a Grade B soap opera with a theater setting. Instead they came up with a near masterpiece.

Two things make the difference: (1) the gongoristic script, and (2) the glistening performances.

You've never heard such dialog. "You're maudlin and full of self pity. You're magnificent." But a thousand examples wouldn't do the script justice because it's all of a piece. It was written -- some might argue aptly "overwritten" -- by Joe Mankewitz and directed by him as well. For a few years he was all over the place, but he never turned out anything else like this film. Nobody could. It's unique.

All of the performances are adequate and most of them are more than that. I had a little trouble with the Eve Harrington character, played by Ann Baxter. She seemed out of her depth somehow, which was a shame because she's one of the central figures. She's a likable and attractive woman and the grand daughter of Frank Loyd Wright or somebody, which is all for the good, but her breathlessness limits her range. Hugh Marlowe is better than usual. Marilyn Monroe is indescribable and has some of the funniest lines. The rest of the cast is superb. Gary Merrill's baritone is reassuringly masculine. Bette Davis gives a Saturday Night Live imitation of Bette Davis with her broad gestures and husky voice projecting to the balconies. Celeste Holm is so damned sweetly likable without being a stunning beauty or a bravura actress. Her devotion to Davis is solid without being stolid, just what the role calls for. Perhaps best of all is George Sanders. Great name for the character too -- Addison DeWitt. Addison, as in "adder." Twice he's referred to as "venomous." Okay, the dialog and performances are overblown, but unashamedly overblown -- "I am once again available for dancing in the streets." Almost every line is equally juicy and ripe.

In a way, "All About Eve" is what used to be called a woman's picture -- all that jealousy and backstage intrigue revolving around publicity, age, beauty, and men. Davis has a rather lengthy stint of monologue in which she discuss womanhood as a career. And the men are, frankly, all dummies except for Sanders who may or may not be gay. I only mention the possibility because he's the only man who really understands what these babes are up to. The other men -- even the reassuringly baritoned Merrill -- are as manipulable as Play-Do, but not Sanders. He smirks with his secrets throughout the movie until he cashes his knowledge in at the end. Actually, without wanting to be accused of stereotyping, the movie should have a good deal of interest for the gay community. It's got all the icons. Bette Davis at her bitchiest, the fear of aging and losing one's beauty, the skewering insults, the toughness under the froth and lace.

I do kind of wish that Thelma Ritter hadn't disappeared half way through the movie, like King Lear's fool. I missed her a lot.

It's curious that the agents of social control objected to a scene in which Betty Davis smokes a cigarette in bed. It sets a dangerous example. There was some static too over Gregory Ratoff's eructation after a glass of baking soda. Presumably, this might set a bad example as well. Before you know it, everyone will be burping and even children will take up the filthy habit. And of course married couples had to be shown in twin beds. Curiously, there was never a peep out of the censors about the brutal beatings and lethal shootings that were everyday fare in films of the period. Smoking is out, but killing is okay.

Anyway, see this. There's nothing else quite like it, especially now, when the art of speech seems to have been pretty much lost in American movies. I can visualize it now, Mankewitz presenting this literate script to a committee of MBAs and having them brush it off -- "too talky."
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9/10
All about this movie..
Spuzzlightyear5 November 2005
Considered to be THE show business movie, and for good reason!! Anne Bancroft and Bette Davis just act the dickens out of this movie, and they got all the accolades they deserved for this.

Margo Channing is the crème de la crème of Broadway actresses. She gets awards, trophy husbands, and legions and legions of fans. As a matter of fact, one fan, one Eve Harrington, has seen every performance! Rather then shoo her away, her friend (played by Celeste Holm) encourages the two together. Soon, after a hoary sad-story about her husband dying and starting to go to the theater and discovering Channing, Channing decides to put the girl into her circle. But the warning signals soon come up, first from Margo's assistant, then Margo herself. But Eve is either too kind, or too manipulative, you're not really too sure for Margo to do anything about it, because she always seems to be two steps ahead of everyone else, again, you don't really know if by accident or by purpose. So this is all fun, Bette Davis is pulling her hair out over this, and Baxter is literally saying "What? What? What did I do?". Again, you're never sure if she's THAT naive or what, and that's what makes this film so much fun.
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9/10
The golden age of Broadway, the golden age of Hollywood
marissas759 January 2006
"All About Eve" is set in a vanished world, the glitzy "Golden Age of Broadway." But, remarkably, the film doesn't seem dated. This classic tale of ambition and manipulation features characters real enough that you can imagine the same story happening today.

Scheming Eve Harrington insinuates herself into the life, and eventually the career, of aging actress Margo Channing. A vivid array of theatre types either help or hinder Eve as she rises to fame; they include Margo's younger boyfriend/director Bill, famous playwright Lloyd and his wife Karen, Margo's sharp-tongued maid, and influential critic Addison DeWitt. The characters are well-drawn, with many foibles; nearly everyone behaves stupidly or cruelly at least once.

The screenplay for "All About Eve" was based on a short story, and at times the film feels too literary or talky or stagy. Scenes tend to be long, as they are in stage plays, rather than short, as is usual in the movies. The camera work is fluid and competent, the lighting is bright and professional, but they lack that cinematic spark. Still, though, it's hard to say exactly how to change the screenplay—it's full of witty observations about life and the theatre, which would be a shame to lose.

Bette Davis deserves all the praise she gets for this role, and the movie loses a lot when she's not in it (especially toward the end). I was struck by how she conveys Margo's larger-than- life personality, the "actress who can't stop performing," while also showing us Margo's real human needs. George Sanders is excellent as Addison DeWitt (was there ever a more perfectly named character?), gradually revealing the slime beneath his cultured persona. Thelma Ritter and Marilyn Monroe are great fun.

The character of Bill is supposed to be 32 years old, prompting 40-year-old Margo to fret about how she's losing her looks and dating a younger man. Gary Merrill acts the role of Bill well enough, but he looks at least as old as Bette Davis, making this plot line somewhat unbelievable. Celeste Holm and Hugh Marlowe, playing Karen and Lloyd, are unremarkable. And I still can't decide how I feel about Anne Baxter's performance in the major role of the manipulative Eve.

Though "All About Eve" has its flaws (I'll admit it, I prefer "Sunset Boulevard"), it's a smart movie, with an excellent script and some wonderful performances. Cynical and entertaining, it will make you wonder whether you know any modern-day "Eves".
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9/10
A Flawless All-Star Cast working with, arguably, cinema's greatest screenplay...
Isaac585513 January 2007
Just about as perfect a film as they come, 1950's ALL ABOUT EVE was an instant classic upon its release and remains one of the most talked about films by cinema historians fifty years later. The film received an unprecedented 14 Oscar nominations (a record unbroken until TITANIC) and walked away with 7 Oscars, including Best Picture of the Year. Joseph L. Manckiewicz, for the second year in a row, won dual Oscars for directing and writing this sparkling comedy drama about an aging actress named Margo Channing (Bette Davis), who befriends a star struck fan named Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter) who we slowly learn has her own agenda in befriending her idol. This film is an on-target skewering of the New York theater scene and the poor souls who toil in it. Davis and Baxter are both flawless and were both nominated for Best Actress. George Sanders won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance as an acid-tongued theater critic named Addison DeWitt, who becomes a prime player in the delicious twists this story takes. Gary Merrill plays Bill Sampson, a theater director and Margo's much younger lover. Hugh Marlowe (in probably the most significant role of his insignificant career) and Celeste Holm play Lloyd and Karen, the playwright who writes almost exclusively for Margo and his wife, Margo's best friend. There are also memorable turns by Thelma Ritter as Margo's housekeeper and a very young Marilyn Monroe as Addison DeWitt's "protegee", Miss Casswell. The cast all work at the top of their game, thanks to inspired direction, but it is the screenplay that is the real star of this classic. I can't think of another movie in history with dialogue that sparkles and dances the way it does here. Mackiewicz's Best Screenplay Oscar was richly deserved. His Best Director Oscar primarily stemmed from having a perfect cast. Ironically, Claudette Colbert was originally slated to play Margo but had to drop out due to an injury, twist of fate that allowed Bette Davis to give the most amazing performance of her career which should have won her an Oscar as well. A true classic in every sense of the word...don't miss this one.
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9/10
Another Davis Classic.
karenlynn124 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This great film has been copied by many shows and films, as it reveals the tale of a seemingly innocent admirer whose envy and treachery are seen all to late.

Bette Davis is superb as an actress at the height of her fame. Anne Baxter shines as Eve, the enjenue who will stop at nothing to be in her idol's shoes.

The other performances are equally noteworthy--including a cameo by Marilyn Monroe, who was a mere starlet at the time.

The plot has many twists and turns, and the ending is very tongue-in-cheek. A nice way to wrap up this tale of a wolf in sheep's clothing.
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9/10
A class act
lastliberal24 March 2007
An excellent Darryl Zanuck production - excellent music, and an air of ultra-class complete this superior satire. And, it had Marilyn Monroe, too.

Joseph L. Mankiewicz, wrote and directed this film, the story of an ambitious actress's rise from glamor-struck girl in a theater alley to Broadway star. Mankiewicz has gathered up a saga of ambition and conceit, pride and deception and hypocrisy, that just about drains the subject dry. The self-seeking, ruthless Eve, who would make a black widow spider look like a ladybug—is the motivating figure in the story and is played by Anne Baxter with icy calm, the focal figure and most intriguing character is the actress whom Bette Davis plays. This lady, an aging, acid creature with a cankerous ego and a stinging tongue, is the end-all of Broadway disenchantment, and Miss Davis plays her to the hilt.

The supporting cast is brilliant and includes award winning George Sanders, Celeste Holm, Thelma Ritter, and Marilyn Monroe. It is easy to see why this was the Best Picture of 1950.
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9/10
Let Other Movies Go For Broke With Wit Like This One
jzappa23 July 2007
All About Eve is written with a consistent attention to stylization and lyrical perfection given to its dialogue. Whether it is truly realistic or blatantly theatrical is not a decision between a flaw and a pro, but between the nature of dialogue that is normally striven for by a logical writer and what could be beyond that nature and perhaps some new, inventive little flare, something to keep the audience determinedly on their toes. The film is loaded, and neatly limited modestly at the brim, with powerhouse scenes of dialogue, be they fiery arguments between infamous flamethrower Bette Davis and a co-star who dares to match her or dangerous, hardly predictable scenes tossed with threats and lies between others. To me, beyond the cast, beyond the direction, beyond the atmosphere of the scenery and cinematography, director Joseph L. Mankiewicz's script is what makes this movie the powerful light-refracting gem that it is.

I will admit that this is my first Bette Davis film. I had never seen a performance by her before this film. I believe she has a mixture that always turns me on to an actor actress, a mesh of an extroverted, active, dynamic quality that allows them to act upon people and surroundings extremely quickly and with no inhibition and an intuitive, deeply emotional characteristic that may even negate the shallow emotional characteristic of the aforementioned quality, revealing a penetrating insight into people. Davis conveys this in the least challenging and most entertaining way, which is by playing herself, which is perfectly fine by those who judge that sort of thing because that is truly what was required of the role. She is not the light-refracting beauty one expected from a star actress in the silver screen era, but I believe she was still an untouchable star not only because of pure confidence but confidence so solid that one like Joan Crawford who would attempt to tamper with it would be thrown back as if it were a forcefield. What presence she has.

Anne Baxter plays the title character, a character who is supposed to be Bette's match. As an actress, Baxter could never match Bette. Where Bette is completely natural in every way on screen, Baxter is not at all. Baxter looks and feels staged to us, because she endlessly stares off into nothing whenever she is speaking, and no matter how interesting she makes her monologue, she still unrealistically stares, and sometimes leans, into space. However, her saving grace is how beautifully she executed the very difficult and tricky role she played. Eve is a person who can never appear to be doing what other characters suspect that she's doing, and even more, she can never appear to be the sort of person that would ever feel inclined to do what they suspect that she is doing. She is the most secretive sort of mysterious personality, quite insightfully captured by the screenplay, which I once again complement, and also fleshed out very effectively by Anne Baxter, who despite her hopeless overtheatrical habits completely becomes Eve.

The cast is consistently great. Celeste Holm as a playwright's housewife, a very honestly written character, is very effective in her fleshing it out. Gary Merrill, Hugh Marlowe, and Gregory Ratoff are all very entertaining and likable. The doosie is Marilyn Monroe, who even with her few minutes on screen is very wooden. The outstanding man in the film is George Sanders, who plays theater critic Addison De Witt, one of the most intelligent and refreshingly practical and analytical characters I've seen in a movie. He is introduced as simply another one of the many people we will be seeing in the social circle of the film's main characters, even through the story he is partially narrating. Yet he slowly grows to be something more, and we are surprised to see the full extent of what his character is significant for. Sanders has a scene where he is disturbing and vindicating to us at the same time.

All About Eve is full of what so many people don't seem to realize can be the most satisfying and fascinating quality a movie can have, in its writing, in its actors, in its direction, in its detail, and that is a razor wit to wield. It has all different brands of smarts, and we need more films like it today.
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9/10
When art imitates life, where does reality end?
RJBurke194218 November 2007
Maybe, stretching a point, this movie could have been called 'All About Actors'?

There've been a number of films that explore the passion for success on the stage: Stage Door (1937) and A Star Is Born (first made in 1937 and made several times thereafter) being two of the most notable. And, other films have also taken an introspective look at the machinations of the acting profession – The Player (1992) and even the goofy, but entertaining, Get Shorty (1995).

This one, however, is the definitive voyeuristic analysis of why actors will do anything to get to the top, for three reasons. First, it has a script that is flawless in its construction, logic and plot development; to use a hackneyed phrase – it all hangs together seamlessly, showing – and telling, with three different voice-overs – the depths to which some go to reach the heights of narcissistic glory. Second, such a film required a strong hand to keep the actors in check, to prevent it from descending into farce, and that's why Joe Mankiewicz was needed; well, it was his script, anyway – so who better to direct, with his fine record of films? And, third, the main protagonists: never before, I think, has a script followed so closely the juxtaposition of a true star (Bette Davis) in her waning years, playing an actress in her waning years, and being challenged by a relative newcomer (Anne Baxter), playing a newcomer challenging the aging star. Such delicious irony, I think, is rare to see on screen. Add to that, a collection of actors (George Sanders, Gary Merrill, Hugh Marlowe, Celeste Holm, the irrepressible Thelma Ritter) of the time who ably and professionally flesh out a drama about the reality of life in fiction.

Perhaps even more interesting than the actual film would have been a documentary filming the action on the sets, as the film was made... One can only dream, I guess, to have been a fly on the wall.

A word about the dialog: checking the above link for Quotes, I see that all of the lines I rate as some of the best I've heard, all show up in the list – which is, also, one of the longest list of quotable film quotes I've seen. If you're hesitating about seeing this film, just scan through those quotes to get a sense of what is in store.

As implied, the direction from Mankiewicz and the acting – particularly Davis, Baxter and Sanders – are riveting. Bette Davis is the personification of diminishing self-confidence as the onset of age dominates and depresses; Baxter is almost sociopathic in her portrayal of naked ambition disguised as sycophantic concern for one and all, but particularly for those who will advance her ambitions; and George Sanders does give the performance of his career and deservedly received the award for Best Supporting Actor. Other actors (Dick Powell or Claude Rains, for example) could have played that role, for sure; Sanders, however, does such a good job, it's a though the character of Addison DeWitt (what a play on word sound – Addison, the wit and critic, given a name that sounds like a New Yorker's disparaging put-down. Was Mankiewicz having a bit of fun at New York's expense?) morphs into George Sanders completely. And, vice-versa...

So, treat yourself to a filmic experience that you'll never see repeated – for obvious and sad reasons. But also, this type of narrative is long gone from the Hollywood scene: talky movies are box-office death these days, as we all know – unless you're in a Phone Booth (2002) or on a Cellular (2004).

One can only hope that nobody attempts a remake of this masterpiece. Highest recommendation...
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9/10
All About Eve is a classic talkie
Cinexcellence29 June 2008
Another AFI film off the list. Watching All About Eve, lots of things I'd heard over the years clicked and made sense. I heard the classic line, "Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night" I finally saw a Mankiewicz film, who I'd heard about for quite some time (Although I may have seen The Virginian) And last but not least, I realized why All About Eve was listed AFI's Heroes & Villains list, and deservedly so.

Anne Baxter put in a near-perfect performance as the title character, playing Eve with just the right amount of subtlety and charisma. I also really liked Bette Davis in the role of Margo Channing. I was reminded of Gloria Swanson's chilling performance as Norma Desmond in Sunset Blvd. Both characters are obsessed with their own stardom and have a desire to control their surroundings. (Both films also have similar beginnings as well) Ironically, both films were released in the same year.

For a film that relies predominantly on dialogue between the many characters to tell the story, I was surprisingly engaged throughout. This is proof that you don't need action to tell an entertaining story.

All About Eve also has another ending that I really liked and fit the story perfectly in a circular manner. This is definitely a film worth watching.
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9/10
Intelligently crafted..
akhilgenx20058 August 2008
It is a well written movie and I am saying so because even though I have seen a lot of movies but I was never sure as to how the character of Eve will turn out. It was so very well sugar coated that the coating felt like the real crust of the character. It was all about Eve but Bette Davis had the strongest character in the movie, her performance in the party scene towards the middle of the movie is the most enjoyable part of the movie since that's when all the characters in the movie come into one frame and you can see the real dynamism between them all. The movie moves fast for a drama based movie and there is hardly a weak link in the movie. So enjoy!
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