All About Eve is a 1950 film directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz with a stellar cast that includes Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders, Celeste Holm, and also a very young and astonishingly beautiful Marilyn Monroe. The film is a great classic, was nominated for 14 Oscars when released (and won a lot of them), and it’s not easy to say something that hasn’t been said already about it! Its influence on cinema and on pop culture in general is substantial: among others, Pedro Almodóvar paid tribute to it with All About My Mother, the Simpsons did it with the episode All About Lisa, and there was also an English group in the 80s called All About Eve!
The plot can be easily summarized: the young and naive Eve (Anne Baxter) meets her favorite theater actress, the great Margo (Bette Davis), and manages to enter her circle of friends and colleagues. But Eve isn’t so naive, and little by little she manages to replace the cynical and more elderly Margo, and not only in the theater… Not only is the story interesting, but the film tells it in the best way possible, with a perfect script filled with dialogues crafted up to the smallest detail that allow all the actors and actresses to offer absolutely incredible performances. Mankiewicz proves to be a top-level director, and All About Eve is certainly one of the highest points of classic post-war Hollywood. So, expect impressive sets, rather intrusive narrative voices, a classical-sounding soundtrack, marvelous black and white cinematography, and a theatrical way of acting which makes all the great stars of the cast shine. Overall, the character of Eve is really great, multi-faceted and revealed little by little by the plot developments, and there’s a complex relationship with Bette Davis’ character which evolves in a far from trivial way by the end of the film .
The film depicts in a totally realistic and disturbing way the show business world. The theatrical world, as well as that of TV and cinema, is presented as full of people willing to do anything to achieve success and wealth: sometimes cynical schemers, sometimes capricious, self-destructive and neurotic individuals. A world, therefore, which isn’t so difficult to understand when thinking about recent events such as the Weinstein case and the premature deaths of depressed actors and singers whose equilibrium depended on alcohol and prescription drugs (to name a few: Chris Cornell, Heath Ledger, Dolores O’Riordan…).
There are countless anecdotes about All About Eve and the people who worked on the movie. For example, the raspy voice of Bette Davis, that is so perfect for her character, was not the result of a director’s choice, but rather the result of the difficult divorce that Davis had just experienced (it seems that she damaged her vocal cords because she screamed too much. Apparently she wasn’t a very quiet person…). But rather than boring you with endless stories about this film (which you can find everywhere, it’s such a popular one), I’m done here and I suggest you to watch it, in case you haven’t done that already! Ciao!