Thursday, February 17, 2011

30 Days of Oscar Day 21: All About Eve

Movie: All About Eve
Year: 1951
Nominations: Best Supporting Actor (George Sanders), Costume Design, Black-and-White, Best Director (Joseph L. Mankiewicz), Best Picture, Best Sound, Best Writing, Best Actress (Anne Baxter), Best Actress (Bette Davis), Best Supporting Actress (Celeste Holm), Best Supporting Actress (Thelma Ritter) Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White, Best Cinematography, Black-and-White, Best Film Editing
Best Music Scoring
Wins/Snubs: Supporting Actor, Best Picture, Director, Sound, and Screenplay.  This movie set records of all kinds.  First, and only, time 4 women from the same movie were nominated. It held the record for most nominations until Titanic tied it. 

I honestly can't believe I'd never seen this.  Such a terrific bitchy chick flick that really created a story that nearly everyone can relate to, either as the young apprentice or the aging mentor.  Margo (Bette Davis) is a famous stage actress who gets a bit caught up in the adoration of a young fan who shows up at one of her shows, Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter).  Eve is so ingratiating that she becomes Margo's friend and assistant, and eventually her understudy.  However, she does everything with the aim of not just being around Margo, but eventually supplanting Margo.  A playwright, Lloyd Richards (Hugh Marlowe) tends to write shows for Margo specifically, and his wife, Karen (Celeste Holm) is a friend of Margo's, but also befriend's Eve.  Eve uses her manipulative nature to get Karen to keep Margo away from the show one night so Eve could go on.  Of course, eventually Eve blackmails Karen with this secret to get a role in Lloyd's newest play.  Eve also befriends a theater critic, Addison Dewitt (George Sanders - the only acting win for the movie which is a catastrophe) but he turns out to be immune to her manipulations, threatening to out all her lies and treachery. 

A big part of the movie is the idea that Margo could only be crazy to think this lovely young woman could be scheming to take her place.  Margo's friend's don't believe her at first, but eventually they come around and see Eve for what she really is.  Terrific writing throughout - "Buckle your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy night" comes from Margo and sets up the film, life is no longer going to be easy.  There are a lot of great lines that aren't quite as famous, but were really familiar.  Oh, and Marilyn Monroe has a small role as one of the actresses who works with Margo.  It's small, but you can see how she'd wow the studios.  Impressive acting by everyone, I'm fairly shocked none of the women took an award home, but I'm guessing the fact that two were nominated in each category they probably split the votes.  Judy Holiday took home the Best Actress award for Born Yesterday, and Josephine Hull took the Supporting Actress award for Harvey.  However, going home with Best Picture and Best Director were totally deserving - though it was the Year of the Aging Diva with Sunset Boulevard also being nominated across the board.  

4 comments:

The Mad Hatter said...

...Now go watch BLACK SWAN again.

cinemasights said...

This film is amazing, AMAZING! I love it so much. Every moment is fantastic. The cast is unbelievable, every time I watch this it just boggles me how consistently incredible everyone in this film is.

Also, Addison DeWitt is my hero.

Jess said...

Hatter - Exactly! I finished this movie and just wanted to make a list of all the movies that "ripped it off" but they just weren't coming to me.

James - Loved it! Can't believe this was the first time I'd ever seen it, but I'll definitely watch it again. And I totally see the Addison love.

Buttercup said...

This is one of my all-time favorites. In fact, I think I'm overdue for another viewing.