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All About Eve

   
 

...Take a Bite out of this Apple!

   

 

  

 

One 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 dialogue....

The 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 . . . ."

But 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.

We say winter evenings are for old classics . . . .

 

Watch: All About Eve

 

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