When Eve Harrington a young apparently shy woman latches onto ageing Broadway star Margo Channing and her circle of friends her motives are a little different to what they first thought.
All About Eve is pure cinematic joy and everything about it is truly outstanding and somewhat timeless.
Margo Channing is a massive Broadway star being one of the biggest but she has not long turned forty and she is starting to worry about her advancing age and what this not only means for her career but her relationships as well. We get an in-depth look into how this was a big things for her to deal with. After a performance of her latest play her friend Karen Richards was about to change their lives when she brings in a big fan named Eve Harrington. Who claimed to have followed the theatrical tour all the way to New York and that she had seen each and every performance of the show. At this point she also meets Lloyd Richards, a writer and Karen’s husband as well as Birdie (Margo’s Maid) and Bill Sampson a director who is Margo’s boyfriend and eight years her junior.
Eve has a sob story though that she was very poor growing up in Wisconsin and lost her young husband Eddie during World War II. The group are all taken in by Eve, well expect Birdie as she doubts her intentions from the beginning. Margo hires her as an assistant and it does not take long for Eve to really manipulate her way into Margo’s life. It was never going to stay all nice for that long when Margo begins to distrust her after seeing her with a costume taking a bow on an empty theatre stage.
Max Fabian a broadway producer is asked by Margo to hire Eve in his office but she manages to become an understudy without Margo having any idea about it. These small twists and turns make the viewer realise that things are really going to take bigger turns as we see what is happening and what Eve wanted all along. Karen wanting to take Margo down a little bit and feeling very sorry for Eve helps to ensure Eve ends up on stage. With it all set up for that theatre critics had just so happened to be invited that night including Addison DeWitt who would have a big influence on stopping the manipulation of everyone for her personal gain.
I think the plot is just perfect with so much substance in it and quite frankly so many issues that we are still facing and dealing with to this day. It also shows that if you are friends and someone new comes in that you should never allow that person to play you off against each other. This certainly happens with Karen as Eve makes her do something horrible to Margo, with missing the performance. Eve attempting to seduce Bill was something that really made him into a very good guy and proclaiming his love for Margo, I actually found that to be one of my favourite moments.
The ending is so poignant in terms of Eve might have got what she wanted in terms of Broadway and onto Hollywood but there’s always going to be another young girl wanting to take the crown and be the next big thing!
Mixing the themes and the big one with Margo dealing with ageing is certainly something that has improved for actresses and getting better roles as they get older over the years, but still something I feel needs to be focused on, yes really 70 years on from this being released actresses still need better roles as they age. I do believe it is happening more and more often now.
Bette Davis is something else isn’t she, her acting is on another level for me. Both her facial experiences and then her ability to deliver one liners. “Fasten your seatbelts it’s going to be a bumpy night” being a particular highlight which I am sure anyone even having not seen the film as seen that clip as I certainly had.
Anne Baxter as Eve is very good as well considering how much hatred you feel towards her character I feel that really highlights how good the performance is, anything that makes you feel big towards a performance is a good thing.
Celeste Holm as Karen is again very impressive and they all work so effortlessly together creating such drama on screen. She has good screen presence as well considering she is not attempting to appear on stage and married to a writer. Thelma Ritter as Birdie gets some fantastic moments as she attempts to do her job and protect Margot.
Hugh Marlowe as Lloyd and Gary Merrill as Bill are given supporting background roles as the women take centre stage and that is something I really love about it. Especially when they offer very good supporting performance as well. George Sanders as Addison was awarded an Oscar for his efforts and he certainly is a committed writer who does his research. Offering a rather frosty character.
Oh the irony though of a female driven film being so outstanding with four of the actresses being nominated for Oscars and none of them winning but an actor picking up an award! Something just feels so wrong about that doesn’t it. It rightly won Best Picture though and really could be high up on my list of the best films that have won that award. Is it really all about Eve? Or should that be about Margo? Either way it is about acting and the ruthless nature of not only Broadway but then transferring to Hollywood as well. Something that is very interesting to think about, with how times have changed but then how something over this amount of time really haven’t changed all that much at all.