All About Eve - Cover'The Criterion Collection' have recently released a digitally enhanced version of 'All About Eve'. It was directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz; it starred Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders, Marilyn Monroe, and Celeste Holm; and it lasts for 138-minutes. Plus, as an extra added bonus, the Blu-ray edition comes with one radio adaptation, two audio commentaries, one new interview, six documentaries, two episodes of 'The Dick Cavett Show', and one vintage promo featuring Bette Davis. Please enjoy.

All About Eve (The Criterion Collection)

When the two of us first met, Eve (Anne Baxter), I genuinely felt sorry for you because you told me a sad, sad story about how the death of your husband led you to become infatuated with my performances on stage. In fact, I felt so sorry for you, that I gave you a job as my personal assistant so you could turn your life around.

Well, that's what I was hoping you would do, until I started to realize something strange about the way you behaved, almost as if you were trying to impersonate me and take over my very existence. So, after discussing this matter with my lover, Bill (Gary Merrill), and my best friend, Karen (Celeste Holm), I decided to keep an eye on you, Eve, otherwise, you might turn into me, Margo Channing (Bette Davis), the greatest actress in the world.

But then again, that's most probably why what next transpires goes to Broadway when a personal assistant suddenly transforms into an understudy. As a budding starlet starts to see the light - a theatrical megastar swiftly puts up a fight - a close friend isn't sure what's wrong or right - and at the end of the day, please remember, you should never win an award out of sheer spite.

'All About Eve' starts with a scene that smartly introduces us to a series of characters who are attending a lavish awards ceremony held in a rather large banqueting hall. Now, one of these characters, Eve, is given the award in question - a theatrical award, I hasten to add - while everyone else in attendance then congratulates her with a round of applause. Well, that's everyone except for two other characters, Margo and Karen, who both stare at Eve with disdain and contempt.

But why? Why do they appear envious of our vivacious victor? Is it jealousy perhaps? Or is it something far more darker? Something that's eventually revealed near the end of this film? (Which then begins to unravel via a lengthy flashback sequence) Well, to find out, we must ask ourselves…

All About Eve - Bette DavisWho's Margo Channing? At face value, Margo Channing appears to be a fairly mature actress who's dedicated her entire life to performing on stage. But upon closer inspection, you'll soon discover that she's also a very sad individual - internally, at least - as she's scared of losing her looks and not finding true love. Saying so, despite the fact that she's intimate with a director named Bill, Bill Sampson, who can tolerate her magisterial behavior and share a similar passion for the arts.

All About Eve - Celeste HolmWho's Karen Richards? Now, unlike Margo, Karen Richards isn't an actress and isn't looking for true love, but only because she's married to an author named Lloyd, Lloyd Richards, who just so happens to write the plays Margo stars in. Karen's not as intuitive as Margo, either, and to some extent, her liberal ways have made her far more gullible and naive in comparison. So much so, that she's eventually used as a tool by the next lady on our list!

All About Eve - Anne BaxterWho's Eve Harrington? When we're first introduced to Eve Harrington, she seemingly presents herself as being a sad, timid figure who wants to please everyone around her by being as kind and as helpful as possible. But as time ticks on, Margo and her housekeeper, Birdie, start to realize that something isn't quite right with Eve, something shady, which ultimately comes to a head when her true motives are discovered by a critic named Addison, Addison DeWitt, who finds out that she's managed to manipulate Margo, Karen, and their respective partners with lies and deceit so she can become a famous actress.

All About Eve - Cast

All About Eve -  foreign movie poster
So, now you know the basic flow of this flick, I think now would be a pretty good time for us to sit back, relax, and check out the following filmic facts: (1) '20th Century Fox' first released this $1.4 million production in the United States on the 27th of October, 1950, and eventually clawed back $8.4 million at the box office. (2) This film was based on a short story written in 1946 by Mary Orr for May's edition of 'Cosmopolitan' magazine. The short story was called, 'The Wisdom of Eve', and it wasn't officially given a screen credit. (3) Loosely translated, this project was entitled, 'The Curtain is Opening' in Turkey, 'The Evil' in Brazil, and 'Comet Beauty' in Taiwan. (4) The majority of this movie was shot inside 20th Century Fox Studios, Stage 11, although certain parts were shot on location throughout the United States of America. This includes the 21 Club and the John Golden Theater in Manhattan, New York, the Taft Hotel and the Shubert Theater in New Haven, Connecticut, as well as the Curran Theatre in San Francisco, California. (5) One of the taglines used to promote this picture, states, 'It's all about women---and their men!'. (6) While they were making this movie, Bette Davis and Gary Merrill both fell in love and eventually got married after its completion. Their marriage lasted for ten years, from 1950 to 1960, and they both adopted a baby girl together, aptly named, Margot. (7) One of the reasons Anne Baxter was hired to play Eve was because she looked a lot like the glamorous actress who was originally hired to play her cinematic counterpart, Margo Channing. But before production, the glamorous actress in question, Claudette Colbert, suffered a bad injury and was replaced by Bette Davis. (8) The fictitious award largely featured at the start and at the end of this film, named, the Sarah Siddons Award, became a real award two years after 'Eve' was released.

All About Eve - poster

Now I usually try to end my movie reviews by ranking each key performance in order of preference. But in the case of 'All About Eve'? Well, to be fair, I don't honestly think I can because all of the actors that starred in it were really good in their respective roles. Bette Davis, for instance, was just magnificent at portraying the many different sides of Margo Channing, ranging from her bitchy side all the way to her more humble side. Whereas Anne Baxter, on the other hand, was so good at playing the manipulative Eve Harrington, that I couldn't really tell if she was a force for good or bad until it was revealed over halfway through the movie. 

All About Eve - Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders, and Marilyn Monroe
Similarly, the rest of the cast also gave noteworthy performances, including, George Sanders (who took on the role of Addison DeWitt with all the guile of a conniving critic), Celeste Holm (who portrayed Karen Richards as a kind yet gormless liberal), as well as Gary Merrill and Hugh Marlowe (who both played creative men that tried their best to support their respective partners). In addition to this, I likewise want to mention Marilyn Monroe (Miss Casswell), Thelma Ritter (Birdie), and Gregory Ratoff (Max Fabian), as they made a fairly good impression on this film by emphasizing some of the points it wanted to make. Points like, why women of a certain age are being cast aside by the entertainment industry! Or the fact, that the very nature of fame is constantly being diluted by people who think more about themselves than the craft they're attempting to undertake! 

In any event, I must say this film is one hell of a brilliant film, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who's a fan of Bette Davis, celebrity culture, female issues, or good old-fashioned storytelling. A classic.


ALL ABOUT EVE (1950) ALL ABOUT EVE (1950) Reviewed by David Andrews on August 23, 2021 Rating: 5

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