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The best thing about All About Eve (1950).


slaytonf
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The best thing about All About Eve is the writing.  No, it's the acting, then it's the writing.  After that, there's not anything else.  Yes there is.  Bette Davis' hair.  It's magnificent.  Luxurious.  Sumptuous.  Almost a character in itself.  It doesn't upstage her, but it's a definite presence.  She's always been well-coiffed, of course, being the Bette, but never so good as here.  This is in the league of the nimbuses of Rita Hayworth and Catherine Deneuve.

Also, we hear the word 'pregnant'.  Is this the earliest in American movies?  Have I asked this question before?

Oh, here's a pic--the famous pic:

Bette-Davis-All-About-Eve-1024x753.jpg

The pic doesn't do it half-justice.  You don't get how her hair moves.  My, my!

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Boy, Howdy!  You said a mouthful there, SlaytonF!  

I almost always watch this when it's on.  I'm going to go with the writing, as it simply dazzles and crackles the whole way through.  But I'll admit that this is all because of the way the lines are delivered -- I guess you call that acting, right?  

And I'm with you on the hair thing as well.

Thanks for the ebullience for this extraordinary movie.  (I'm always a fan of ebullience by the way!)

Brian

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Funny, I suppose, but I think the best lines in the picture go to Marilyn Monroe:  "I can't call out 'Butler.'  Somebody's name might be Butler." "I don't want to cause any trouble.  I just want a drink."

On a rocket to stardom, that actress was!

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13 hours ago, slaytonf said:

The best thing about All About Eve is the writing.  No, it's the acting, then it's the writing.  After that, there's not anything else.  Yes there is.  Bette Davis' hair.  It's magnificent.  Luxurious.  Sumptuous.  Almost a character in itself.  It doesn't upstage her, but it's a definite presence.  She's always been well-coiffed, of course, being the Bette, but never so good as here.  This is in the league of the nimbuses of Rita Hayworth and Catherine Deneuve.

Also, we hear the word 'pregnant'.  Is this the earliest in American movies?  Have I asked this question before?

Oh, here's a pic--the famous pic:

Bette-Davis-All-About-Eve-1024x753.jpg

The pic doesn't do it half-justice.  You don't get how her hair moves.  My, my!

A few years ago, I saw an interview with Tom Hanks.  He was asked what, in his opinion, was the most well written movie.  He said "All About Eve."  I'm going to agree with him and you.   Joseph L. Mankiewicz won a well deserved Oscar for the Screenplay (as well as for Director).   I think the best lines in the movie come out of Margo Channing's mouth.  As for her hair, I don't know if this is true, but at one time there was speculation that she, and the hairdresser, were giving Margo a Tallulah Bankhead look.

 

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No matter how many times I've watched it, I always seem to catch something new.

In fact I ran into it on Movies recently during the argument between Karen and Lloyd over Eve.

Lloyd: .......... she apologized, didn't she?

Karen:  On her knees,  I have no doubt!

Maybe I just have a dirty mind, but what Karen was hinting just dawned on me during this viewing. 

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Definitely in my top 10, but probably owing to too many viewings (familiarity breeds contempt, as they say),  I have a couple of nits to pick:

  • The timeline seems too compressed to me.  The entire movie takes place in about 9 or 10 months - from the start of the season in the autumn to awards season, presumably in late spring/early summer.  Eve goes from mousy wannabe to the toast of the town and on to Hollywood in that short time.  Also, it seems Bill Simpson doesn't spend quite enough time out in Hollywood to  film a feature, get it edited and into previews.  Must have been a record-setting production, unless he was doing a Poverty Row quickie (which wouldn't bother with previews).
  • Birdie disappears from the scene.  This has been pointed out lots of times.  When Margo waves Birdie and her coffee pot away while sitting at the piano at the party, she must've banished her to the outer boroughs.
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How do you pick the best things out of such an amazing movie?  I'll try.  Here's one.  I love the scene where Eve is accepting her award and making her fake thanks to people who helped her.  You cut to the faces at Margo Channing's table (Margo is played by Bette Davis) then to Margo.  What a look!  

Reel Pride: All About Eve (1950) — Talk Film Society

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35 minutes ago, Toto said:

How do you pick the best things out of such an amazing movie?  I'll try.  Here's one.  I love the scene where Eve is accepting her award and making her fake thanks to people who helped her.  You cut to the faces at Margo Channing's table (Margo is played by Bette Davis) then to Margo.  What a look!  

Reel Pride: All About Eve (1950) — Talk Film Society

Ditto the bedroom scene where Eve tells Margo she's sent a birthday telegram to Bill.  The looks Margo  gives Birdie after Eve leaves the room, and Birdie's "I told you so" look as she leaves are priceless.  I also like the way Anne Baxter  steps out of the way of Thelma Ritter.  I don't know if it was blocked this way, or if Anne had accidentally stepped too close to the bed, but there's something about it that makes the scene more natural.

 

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14 hours ago, slaytonf said:

The best thing about All About Eve is the writing.

I agree with this statement.  There is not a wasted line.  Each performance is perfect.  I also think the performers followed direction closely and well.  One of a few fully realized Hollywood efforts.  I watched it again... yesterday?  It is endlessly watchable.  Right now, I'm marveling at GEORGE SANDERS who just gets better and better each time I look at it. 

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59 minutes ago, Roy Cronin said:

Maybe I just have a dirty mind, but what Karen was hinting just dawned on me during this viewing. 

I think a lot is implied by the script, and the actors were directed to use it if they could.  It does seem clear to me that Addison finally gets what he was after by the awards ceremony ending and Eve is not feeling the need AT ALL to cozy up to him... "I don't suppose there's a drink left..." 

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1 hour ago, Roy Cronin said:

No matter how many times I've watched it, I always seem to catch something new.

In fact I ran into it on Movies recently during the argument between Karen and Lloyd over Eve.

Lloyd: .......... she apologized, didn't she?

Karen:  On her knees,  I have no doubt!

Maybe I just have a dirty mind, but what Karen was hinting just dawned on me during this viewing. 

I took Karen's line as a wise-crack related to how Eve tends to add over-the-top-drama to simple acts like an apology.

 The wise-crack could have been  'via a flying plane,  I have no doubt!'.

 

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2 hours ago, filmnoirguy said:

A few years ago, I saw an interview with Tom Hanks.  He was asked what, in his opinion, was the most well written movie.  He said "All About Eve."

Definitely the best dialog.  One that gave Miss Davis unlimited scope for Acting!, and of which she takes full advantage, and is a glory to watch.

Imagine, if you dare, to have the words come out of mouths less able than the present company.  I shudder.  Into those woods I will not go.

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18 hours ago, Allhallowsday said:

I always marvel at CLAUDETTE COLBERT's bad luck, BETTE's good luck... and OUR good luck! 

I've tried so many times to imagine Claudette Colbert in the role and I just can't do it. She seems to have been a gracious woman and a very capable actress, but I don't think we ever saw the turn-on-a-dime tension of Margo or Margo's obstinance or instinctive survival skills in any of her (Colbert's) performances. The one thing which does seem to fall into place when thinking about Colbert is that Anne Baxter might actually make a little more sense in the role of Eve, since the whole thrust of the character is to pattern herself after Margo and eventually supplant her. Baxter was cast in the role with the expectation that she would be mirroring Colbert, which on a totally visual level makes a lot of sense. In the case of Bette Davis, maybe not as much. When Birdie tells Margo that it's like Eve is studying her like a set of blueprints, how she walks. talks and eats, it doesn't land as well because we don't really see it happening. Eve's actual behavior and demeanor aren't really much like Bette's as Margo, but I think they might have been in the case of Colbert. Anyway, I'm not one to wish harm to anyone, but I feel nothing but relief that Colbert had to drop out and that Bette took on a role she was born to play.

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9 minutes ago, Fedya said:

Mousy was part of her plan, wasn't it?

I have always assumed she purchased that dumpy looking coat,  and had that overall look,  as well as standing outside the theater in the rain,  etc....   as all part of her plan to get into the inner circle of Margo.     Of course Karen was an easy target and Eve was on her way.     (now if it was Bridie that saw Eve outside,,,,,  Bridie would have sent the bloodhounds after her!).

 

 

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1 hour ago, Fedya said:

Mousy was part of her plan, wasn't it?

True.  She was acting when she met Karen at the stage door alley, and fooled all of them (though Birdie caught on first and Addison probably would have as well had he met her earlier).   I still think a rags to riches story in 9 months is a bit far-fetched (but so is taking in a stranger off the street into your two-story Manhattan apartment!)

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26 minutes ago, txfilmfan said:

True.  She was acting when she met Karen at the stage door alley, and fooled all of them (though Birdie caught on first and Addison probably would have as well had he met her earlier).   I still think a rags to riches story in 9 months is a bit far-fetched (but so is taking in a stranger off the street into your two-story Manhattan apartment!)

As for Eve's rags-to-riches in only 9 months (one season):     I don't view that as far-fetched but only perfect timing by Eve with a big assist from Karen.    E.g.  Before Eve entered their lives,  I assume Richards,  Margo and others very close to Margo were already discussing,  with Margo about to turn-40,   if the lead female character Richards was writing his plays about,  were too-young or not,  for an actress turning 40.       Also,  Eve being able to perform as Margo's understudy,  and having critics happen to attend that night,  was  yet again,  due to Karen being clueless.      I.e.  if Eve would have had to wait for Margo to actually miss a performance, then it is very unlikely that would have occurred during that season (and of course few if any critics would have been there). 

Thus for me to view Eve's making it big in 9 months as being far-fetched,  one has to view the misguided actions of Karen as far-fetched since Karen is the main one that put the wheels in motion.

PS:  one thing that I think about is Bill going to Hollywood;   If Margo was so insecure about her age and Bill playing-the-field,   wouldn't she have blown up about Bill going to Hollywood in the first place?    The odds  are much greater that Bill would have meet some 20 something actress (like Monroe was in the film),  in Hollywood than in the NY theater.

 

 

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I agree, the best screenplay for that time period. There have been great screenplays by one of my favorites, Oliver Stone on several occasions.

But back to All About Eve. I have a few favorites,

When Bill is leaving for Hollywood, he asks Birdie, "What do you want me to tell Tyrone Power," She answers, "Just give him my phone number, I'll tell him myself." Perfect answer....

Then, when Margo asks argues with the producer after she said "You can change this star anytime for a fresh and exciting new. star any time. forgot. He says, "this is for lawyers to talk about,"  Margo says, "Are you threatening me with legal action?" He says, "I'm a dying man." She says, "Not until the last drugstore has sold it's last pill."  Great!!

Wonderful!! I watch this film anytime it's on - TCM, Fox Movie Network, The Movie Network, PBS - - I'm there, wanting more.

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On 3/29/2022 at 9:15 AM, DougieB said:

I've tried so many times to imagine Claudette Colbert in the role and I just can't do it. She seems to have been a gracious woman and a very capable actress, but I don't think we ever saw the turn-on-a-dime tension of Margo or Margo's obstinance or instinctive survival skills in any of her (Colbert's) performances. The one thing which does seem to fall into place when thinking about Colbert is that Anne Baxter might actually make a little more sense in the role of Eve, since the whole thrust of the character is to pattern herself after Margo and eventually supplant her. Baxter was cast in the role with the expectation that she would be mirroring Colbert, which on a totally visual level makes a lot of sense. In the case of Bette Davis, maybe not as much. When Birdie tells Margo that it's like Eve is studying her like a set of blueprints, how she walks. talks and eats, it doesn't land as well because we don't really see it happening. Eve's actual behavior and demeanor aren't really much like Bette's as Margo, but I think they might have been in the case of Colbert. Anyway, I'm not one to wish harm to anyone, but I feel nothing but relief that Colbert had to drop out and that Bette took on a role she was born to play.

I think Colbert could have done justice to the role, but Bette is just so darn iconic as Margo Channing that with the way things worked out in the end with the casting, I wouldn't have it any other way.

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