Oscars Challenge #47: All About Eve (1950) Movie Review
Do you remember when we were children, we were always taught that hard work pays off? To get to the top, you should always climb from the bottom. If you have the passion, grit, knowledge, and determination, you will someday reach the top.
The real world doesn't work out that way. There will always be people who will cheat to reach the pinnacle of achievement. They will steal the glory that you once held. And they will drag you down into the mud like you are unimportant.
The movie, All About Eve contains all that with a little twist at the end.
The movie may have premiered more than seven decades ago, but it definitely aged like fine wine. Not only does the story way ahead during that era, but it is still relevant even if you compare it to today's standards.
The movie is mainly told in a flashback. It begins in a prestigious awards ceremony where we see the characters, and an award is given to a particular person named Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter). Then the scene shifts into a flashback with Margo Channing (Bette Davis), a Broadway star who recently turned 40 and is struggling with her career. She worries that her growing age will hinder her advancement in her career as other theater industries are looking for young talents. Her friend allows her to meet one of her avid fans, Eve Harrington. She told Margo that she followed her from her last performance in San Francisco City to New York because she just wanted to meet her in person and was awed by her performance on stage.
The two became close friends, but Eve manipulates her way into Margo's life by trying to take whatever she has accomplished personally and as a renowned Broadway star. All the glory Margo reached was soon going to Eve's hands, and she did not stop there until her idol was brought down.
This is a classic deception movie where a character works her way into someone's life and manipulates from within. What makes this different is it is shown during 1950, which may have been a year when filmmakers started experimenting with new things or genres to further wow their audience. The birth of these kinds of movies fascinates me because it just feels original.
Apart from the deceptiveness of Eve Harrington towards Margo Channing, another character Addison Dewitt, played by George Sanders, adds to the mix of craziness. He acts as the opening narrator and the bad critic who only cares about the articles he writes. He doesn't want to show the world what's real or not as long as it's good on paper and will earn him money; it is okay with him.
This is one of those movies where you initially hate the main character, in this case, Margo, then eventually, you will feel bad right near the end. Then that hatred will turn towards another character, Eve. It is like a cycle that you will never get rid of.
One factor that sets it above the rest is its excellent screenwriting. Every line is said with so much passion. Every scene was delivered with care. It is like watching a natural theater production.
Bette Davis, an absolute legend in the entertainment industry, appeared in about 100 movies in her more than 5-decade career. This is just one of those classics wherein her acting drives the film's story. Anne Baxter was also deceptively good in this movie. Her character may be annoying after the film ends because her acting is terrific.
Yes, the character of Eve Harrington is one that you don't want to be friends with. She is clever, manipulative, and will literally stop at nothing to get what she wants. And that makes her incredible.
How can I forget? In one of her early performances, Marilyn Monroe played a minor role as Claudia Casswell in this film. Not much screen time and only delivered a few lines, but her enormous presence stole the show. She was still in her early 20s when this film came out.
The movie also popularized one of the most memorable quotes of all time, "Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night." This film is packed with other quotable lines.
This is also one of those rare Academy Award ceremonies when two actors or actresses in the same movie are nominated in the same category. Bette Davis and Anne Baxter were nominated but lost to Judy Holiday in Born Yesterday.
This film is more than meets the eye. Even though it starts slowly with a seemingly bland narration, it pays off in the end. I recommend this movie to those who want to watch something different regarding storytelling, characters, plot choices, and stricture. It will always keep you on the edge of your seat.
I am proud to say that I will give this a perfect 5 out of 5 stars.