to turn in with on a December evening. There's a certain
sort of American classic film that gets better with time,
familiarity making favorite one-liners all the more
satisfying. And All About Eve, the 1950 masterpiece
directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, is all about scintillating
least that can be said about Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter)
is that the girl isn't shy. Eve wants to follow in the
footsteps of fading theater star Margo Channing (Bette Davis).
The older Bette Davis, incandescent with her flashing beautiful
eyes, is all charisma that wafts around her like the smoke from
her incessant cigarettes. The scheming Eve, with her
superficial prettiness and smaller personality, quickly
infiltrates Margo's life, attempting to destroy the older Margo's
career and personal life. A study in ambition, Eve has
become a symbol for actors who will stop at nothing to land a
role. She is most alive when being actively revered or
fawned upon: "If nothing else," Eve coos, "there's
applause . . . like waves of love pouring over the footlights . .
wit is the true temptress in All About Eve. Based on
a 1946 short story by Mary Orr, The Wisdom of Eve, first
published in Cosmopolitan, Mankiewicz's script is
rapier-sharp. At a cocktail party where Margo decides to
fight back, she makes the now-classic announcement: "Fasten
your seat belts. It's going to be a bumpy night." When
trenchant theater critic Addison DeWitt asks Eve, "What do
you take me for?" she coolly answers, "I don't know that
I'd take you for anything." And there's also a brief
sparkling appearance by Marilyn Monroe. All About Eve
was nominated for a record fourteen Academy Awards. It won
six Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director.
say winter evenings are for old classics . . . .