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All About Eve
IMDB rating:
Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Bette Davis as Margo
George Sanders as Addison DeWitt
Celeste Holm as Karen
Gary Merrill as Bill Simpson
Hugh Marlowe as Lloyd Richards
Gregory Ratoff as Max Fabian
Barbara Bates as Phoebe
Marilyn Monroe as Miss Casswell
Thelma Ritter as Birdie
Walter Hampden as Aged Actor
Randy Stuart as Eve's Pal on Telephone
Craig Hill as Leading Man in 'Footsteps on the Ceiling'
Leland Harris as Doorman
Storyline: Aspiring actress Eve Harrington maneuvers her way into the lives of Broadway star Margo Channing, playwright Lloyd Richards and director Bill Sampson. This classic story of ambition and betrayal has become part of American folklore. Bette Davis claims to have based her character on the persona of film actress Talullah Bankhead. Davis' line "Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night" is legendary, but, in fact, all of the film's dialog sparkles with equal brilliance.
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Moving up the food chain
This was my first time seeing this movie, but I heard when it first came out in 1950 it was a commercial success. Along with box office success, the movie had a record 14 Academy Awards nominations. Director and writer Joseph L. Mankiewicz really did a great job, and I enjoyed this piece of work.The scheming and back stabbing done by Eve Harrington to move up the change to success is very common even in today's practice. Women and men who want to rise to the top of their professions and anyone who reaches the top work force by whatever it takes.The real strength of the film lies in the script, it was so well written. Bette Davis and George Sanders are superb in their acting performance.
Blood-chillingly brilliant
I do not know of any movie that plumbs the depths of the human heart - or the empty cavity where one should be - to paint a blacker picture of it. Addison de Witt is repeatedly described as a snake, but even he, as he recognizes, is not as ruthless as Eve Harrington. Eve would truly kill her own mother for a good role - and remember the experience so she could play it convincingly on stage. She gives you the willies.

Critics have raved about Bette Davis' performance as Margo Channing, and she is certainly wonderful in the part. As, of course, is George Sanders as the evil Addison de Witt.

But what makes the movie so captivating through to the end is Anne Baxter. You desperately try to figure out when her Eve Harrington is acting and when she is being sincere. You want to know. But Baxter always leaves you wondering. Is she overacting just a LITTLE too much? Is she sincere? It's an astounding performance.

And, of course, the script, which oozes venom, is brilliant. But we only appreciate it because it is delivered by great actors/actresses at the top of their form directed by the author of that script, Joseph L. Mankiewicz.

This is a riveting movie. It is brilliantly made. You will enjoy every perfect minute of it.

But you will have a hard time trusting even your best friend after you finish watching it.
Acclaimed, but I found it hard to watch
I am now on about my fourth attempt to watch All About Eve. I find it a very hard slog. Each time I manage about 20 minutes, and then I have to find something else to do.

The acting is mechanical and stagey. There is no reacting here, only people waiting to give their next witty riposte. An occasional witty remark is fine. It gets tiring when everyone is witty. This has nothing to do with the period. The wisecracking in 1940's His Girl Friday or 1941's Ball of Fire, for example, is much more natural and believable.

There is no doubt that a lot of the script is great, and the premise is groundbreaking for its time. But a lot of the lines are clunkers or non sequiturs, and these are delivered with the same smugness as the good ones, which adds to the impression that the characters are not thinking about what they're saying, but just reading the text and the stage directions. Celeste Holm gives the closest to what I would say is a believable performance.

Bette Davis is the biggest disappointment. Whether she's playing happy, sad, or angry, it's always reined in, without any real emotions getting through. My 7 is for the script alone. If I had to score the acting and direction separately they would be less.
A Suggested Perspective
No need to recap the plot or echo consensus points. Instead I want to make a suggestion on how to take the story's crux. Generally the story holds up pretty well after six decades. In my book, that's because Eve (Baxter) amounts to a compelling portrait in perverse psychology, quite apart from a show-biz setting. Eve literally connives her way to the top of the Broadway heap by shrewdly separating an outer poor-little-me from an inner backstabbing-schemer. To me, her perverse character can unfortunately be found in many walks of life. Here her scheming makes good dramatic use of a competitive Broadway setting, but can also be found outside that high profile venue.

I agree with most of the positive remarks about the film. But I can also understand why some folks find the lack of action and snobbish setting off-putting. That's one reason I've emphasized that Eve represents a broader personality type rather than just a single movie character. So if you don't like the movie's context, you may still find Eve's personality type interesting-- the type whose inner person separates from the outer for purely selfish reasons, which Eve represents in spades
All About Eve
"All About Eve" starring Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, and George Sanders was a great film because of the screenplay, the directing, and the acting. The dialog in this movie was also really good and powerful.

Eve seems very nice and kind and think that she is obsessed with Margo so they try and help her out. In reality she just uses Margo's friends to help her be successful in the theater business. This shows that Eve is sneaky and a untrustworthy instead of being nice and kind like Margo and her friends thought. Many relationships and feeling change throughout the movie and that's what makes this movie exciting. This movie was great and I would highly recommend to others.
Let Other Movies Go For Broke With Wit Like This One
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.
Well Before Its Time
This best picture award winner is an excellent classic drama film. The writing and dialog within this film is great. Even with such a serious topic, it is incredibly funny and engaging overall. In addition to its engaging plot, it's a visually beautiful film even though it's in black and white. With its setting within the theater, the acting is not only of high quality, but also very over the top in nature. I'm not the standard audience for a film of this nature, but I found myself very engaged throughout and the well over 2 hour running time didn't bother me in the least. Its engaging theme of homosexuality makes it incredibly topical and progressive film for its time.
Sets the stage for future female undermines female films
I actually watched All About Eve a few years back on the classic movie channel. It is an interesting film with a great cast (notably Sher Khan from the Jungle Book! Hey it's a big deal to me). The story is a haughty and over-confident woman being upstaged by a younger, manipulative starlet. It's a powerful film and a cautionary tale about getting too comfortable in one's position of power. There will always been someone working to overpower you in your field. You must always remain on top of your game. The game is never over either, for in the end when Eve feels she has one, a new challenger appears, and she realizes with horror that she is now where her old opponent once was.
Cinema at its best!
All About Eve is truly one of the wittiest and classiest films ever made! The screenplay is superb and the actors are all divine, especially Bette Davis in her best role ever! A real gem, a true classic.
Great screenplay acted out by great performers
Some films earn their place in the canon due to the importance they had at the time of their release. All about Eve was no doubt important, but it also holds up better today than many movies released this decade. It's wit is just as sharp, and the performances are still top notch. It's a movie about hunger for power, staying relevant, and realizing that nothing lasts forever - all of which are still interesting themes today. (Staying relevant will maybe never lose its relevancy.) While the cast is stellar all around, Bette Davis' performance really stands out as just amazing. She's the highlight of any scene she is in, and when she's not a part of the scene, you miss her. Much of it is because she really captures the character (which might have been easy for her), but also because of the writing. So many movies around this time has excellent dialogue. It's like they didn't care if it was realistic at all, it was more important that it was good.

There's only one scene I really object to, and with a fear of spoiling it, I'll say it's a scene between DeWitt and Eve in hear bedroom near the end, where Eve's reaction feels either over done (which does not match her character at all), or, if meant to be genuine, seems uncharacteristic of her. Perhaps it's just not aged that well? If so, it's unlike the rest of the movie.
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