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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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All about showbiz!
It deals with the novice exceeding the star in the theatre. Yet "Eve" isn't just a reflection of any particular genre of show business. We don't see it happening, but the wisdom of people like Eve keeps sneaking up on us all the time...and bringing us down when we least expect it.

Therefore, "All About Eve" still couldn't be extended to be just the entertainment industry, although the movies and "Sunset Boulevard" seem to take it all in their stride. It remains a wonder how a film made half a century ago still can retain a lot of its thought content value. THIS is a movie about the throes of human nature...and all in disguise of film epitome glamour, other lives and Bette Davis.

At the time of release, it was viewed as provocative. In other words, Hollywood, still in the Hayes Code era but heading dangerously close towards the end of the Golden era, basically didn't like the truth. "Eve" is not made in the obscene sense of being provocative, but it is perhaps more for Joseph L. Manckiewicz's crisp writing and direction. "A Letter to Three Wives" is my personal favourite of his films, but it was that film which paved the way for his glory days at the FOX studios.

It is not my favourite Bette Davis movie, but deserving credit, she brings home her strongest performance here by stealing the show. Anne Baxter, George Sanders and Celeste Holm, some of the strongest FOX studio supporting actors, all turn in respectable performances. Finally, Marilyn Monroe features in a small role, but noticable role, pre-exploitation period.

Despite this, the film dipped a fair way short of my expectations. It has been more than a year since I viewed this film, and since it was during the period of early classics days, I could provide a better judgement of the film. This could be an indication that "Eve" is a film that I should have another viewing of. Perhaps bitchy soap opera type films don't always entice me...or perhaps "Eve" still pales to a more compelling "Sunset Boulevard" which remains more worthy of taking out Oscar's top golden statuette for 1950.

Rating: 7/10
My all-time favorite movie
This is movie-making at its best. The performances are just incredible. Ann Baxter's impersonation of Eve Harrington is so convincing that you end up hating Baxter for the rest of your life! Bette Davis and George Sanders are superb. However, the real strength of the film lies its script. It is so well written, full of one-liners that stick to your mind forever. Here is a movie to be watched many times over, a movie to be studied by every director. Along with Sunset Boulevard, this is probably the best American film of the fifties.
"So many rare qualities"
In the early 50s, as the old studio system fell into decline, the producer-directors and writer-directors began to muscle in. All About Eve, written and shot by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, was one of the first major triumphs of this new breed of filmmaker. Although it is about actresses, in it writers and directors are cynically lauded as those who "construct a tower so that the world can applaud a light which flashes on top of it", while stars are dismissed as "pianos" who ought to realise "they did not write the concerto". But upon seeing the performances in All About Eve, all one can say is what lights... what pianos!

Let's begin with the skillful turns of Bette Davis and Anne Baxter. The styles of these two players, like their characters, are mirror images of each other. Davis, true to type, projects a callous and world-weary exterior, and yet I am struck by the depth and sincerity of her emoting, for example as she listens to Eve's sob story in the dressing room scene, or the tenderness she clearly feels for Gary Merrill. It's a depth that it is essential for her character, and yet sensibly she doesn't allow it to dominate, just letting it shine through at key moments. Baxter by contrast is a model of girlish innocence and boundless altruism, yet beneath the surface shows herself to be a treacherous, cold-hearted lizard of a woman. And like Davis's inner warmth, Baxter only reveals that in brief flashes. Hidden depths are something of a running theme in the acting here. Celeste Holm is ostensibly a naive and trusting figure, yet she expertly lays bare the strength of her character in later scenes. Even George Sanders's trademark suave veneer cracks once or twice, giving way to that sharp end of his cynicism which he normally masked.

And yet, these supreme talents of the acting profession have been carefully orchestrated by one who has certainly styled himself a builder of cinematic towers. Mankiewicz was a brilliant arranger of motion pictures, and this was far and away his best effort to date. His direction is subtle on the surface - clear, direct shot compositions with no fancy tricks, an "invisble" camera which only moves to follow the actors - but Mankiewicz himself has hidden depths, and the shooting of All About Eve is in truth a work of considerable complexity. Although his aim was to draw attention the players in the foreground, his work is all about backgrounds. Take the opening scene at the awards ceremony. When we are introduced to the central figures, look at how unnaturally still the extras in the background are. It is the equivalent of shooting these principle players against a blank wall. When Eve goes to accept her award the tactic is reversed. The crowd claps excitedly while Davis et al remain eerily motionless. At other times Mankiewicz's use of backgrounds becomes a direct commentary on events, such as the shot of Davis next to a sign saying "Handle with Care".

And so Mankiewicz is a true "tower constructor" of the type described in All About Eve. He is not a show off, and his work though elaborate is all about highlighting the performances and the characters. But it would be doing a major disservice to this wonderful cast to deride them as mere flashing lights, for to quote another picture concerning performance and production, even the most skilled conjurer cannot pull a rabbit out of a hat if there is not already a rabbit in the hat (That's from The Red Shoes, by the way). All About Eve may be shot through with pessimism about the dramatic arts, yet it is the very smoothness of its collaboration - the skill of the tower builders and the brightness of the lights, if you will, both of which are equally important - that make it an engaging and enthralling piece of movie-making.
***** Perfect!
Here's perfect writing if ever a movie ever had it-where did Joseph L. Mankiewicz come up with these people? Who would have thought he could not only revive Bette Davis' career with her greatest-ever role, but actually make her even more fascinating than she ever was before? Davis plays famous and established actress Margo Channing, a self-centred and tough but vulnerable woman who is purused relentlessly by Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter), a seemingly innocent woman who worships Channing-she even becomes her personal assistant. However, her devotion soon becomes sinister, and Margo lets her friends know, though they just think she's being selfish and unfair. Celeste Holm is excellent as Margo's best friend, who at first is on Eve's side but eventually sees how conniving Eve can be and how ruthless she is in climbing to the top. The party scene early on in the film features some of the film's best lines (`Fasten your seat belts…it's going to be a bumpy night!'), though my personal favourite is when Davis tells Baxter to put her award `where you heart should be'; Margo Channing is just about the best female character of the fifties. Features Marilyn Monroe in an early role.
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.
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.
Behind the scenes
Along with "Sunset Boulevard" and "The bad and the beautiful" this is the best film about Hollywood behind the masks and all the glamor of theater and film. Extremely stagy, but Bette Davis was never better, and George Sanders is as always deliciously slimy and arrogant to the max; only Baxter is not quite convincing as the star to be. But it does not really matter because the direction is great, and the dialog is amazing all the way. A real roller-coaster of a movie that contains both bundles of laughter, and some truly terrifying moments as well. Davis has the line of a lifetime that expresses the essence of the film: "Fasten your seat belts! It's gonna be a bumpy night!"
Droll, hilarious, edgy drama with an ensemble cast to die for
All About Eve (1950)

Droll, hilarious, edgy drama with an ensemble cast to die for

The sophisticated, witty, jaded, champagne-dripping world of All About Eve is implied even in the first words, drolly intoned by that deep voice of George Saunders, who plays a very lofty theater critic. As you might hope from such smart people, the repartee is sharp and fast, and the delivery is sharp and fast. Those are two different things--the writing, which is brilliant throughout, and which can afford to be overly flashy because we expect these sorts of actors and writers to be flashy, and the acting, led by Bette Davis.

Director and writer Joseph L. Mankiewicz is at the top of his game, and you have a feeling he is dealing with the types of people he knows very well. The plot is actually fairly simple, made complicated by all this great dialog, and a series of small turns of event that never upends the single-mindedness of the young woman played by Celeste Holm. But there is a nuance to it all that you feel in the restraint of Holm's devious character, and in the acknowledgement in others of what they really want in their lives (love), and in the final moments, where bitterness never quite unfolds, and where we see that all the seeming backstabbing is normal somehow, and that if you are being stabbed it is probably because you stabbed someone else. All if fair in the world of theater, as in life at large.

If this whole affair sounds like a play, it is played out as one, in a limited number of sets, and often with a handful of actors bouncing retorts and observations around like a volleyball. The one scene out of New York that I remember is actually shot with clumsy backprojection, the single technical flaw of the film, which is otherwise a typical product of the finely oiled Hollywood system of the time. Mankiewicz of course is one of those expert, underrated directors who was less interested in becoming an auteur and more interested in making films in the conventional way, but very very well. All About Eve is a perfect introduction to him, and to Bette Davis, for that matter, in a smaller lead role than many of her films where she looms larger than life. And he often gathers top talent around him, like cinematographer Milton Krasner and music director Alfred Newman.
Fasten your seat belts...
What can you say about a film like this? It has one of the greatest screenplays ever written, fabulous directing, and sensational performances by Anne Baxter, Bette Davis and George Sanders. And on top of it all, it's got Marilyn Monroe! What more could you want?!? It's full of snappy dialogue, great one liners, and a realistic and interesting plot. The epitome of good movie making. Oh, if only today's filmmakers were forced to watch All About Eve before they were allowed to make their own!
A Triumphant Lead Performance By The Legendary Bette Davis
After 17 years under contract to Warner Brothers, Bette Davis' first film as a freelance (for 20th Century Fox) is generally considered by many to be her all time greatest performance. Davis superbly shines in her role as Margo Channing, an aging Broadway star who tries to keep a close watch on her new secretary, Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter), a young stage newcomer who is willing to use and abuse anybody in her path through her ambitions to be a breakout star. Great acting by all involved (even Marilyn Monroe in a bit part and early film appearance). This film is one of the last gems of the studio system and it also has one of the best screenplays of any film made during the 1950's.
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