Talk about your perfect casting job. Having actress Bette Davis play the aging actress was a case of getting the perfect person to play a role.
Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter – The Ten Commandments, The Magnificent Ambersons) sees her idol Margo Channing (Bette Davis – What Ever Happened to Baby Jane, Jezebel) in a play on Broadway and from that moment on decides that she wants to be her. Eve makes friends with the aging actress and her friends, playwright Lloyd Richards (Hugh Marlowe – Meet Me in St. Louis, The Day the Earth Stood Still), Karen (Celese Holm – from television’s Archie Bunker’s Place) and director Bill Simpson (Gary Merrill – Where the Sidewalk Ends, The Frogmen).
Everyone believes that Eve is just a naïve fan who is a little obsessed with her idol, so they all help her. Only critic Addison DeWitt (George Sanders – The Jungle Book, The Picture of Dorain Grey) doesn‘t fall for her act. Her plan to upstage Margo begins to work as she gets her role. Everyone who is close to Margo undergoes a change in their lives as a result of their new association with Eve.
The dialogue in the film is fantastic. Really memorable. Who hasn’t heard the famous Bette Davis line, “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night”? Many of the sarcastic lines are real doozies. Not a lot of niceness going on here, but you will lap it up.
The screenplay was written by the film’s director, Joseph L. Mankiewicz (Cleopatra, Guys and Dolls) and he has done a fine job. Plenty of finesse in the way it was written. His script really gives us a glimpse into the underbelly and behind the scenes in the acting world. And it is not exactly a pretty picture. It is engrossing, emotional and involving.
Mankiewicz was not only a great screenwriter, but a talented director. He makes this very literate script accessible to all. It is the type of film that can be watched over and over with each viewing bringing a new favourite scene or line.
Rumour has it that Bette Davis based her character on the iconic actress Talullah Bankhead. Whatever the case this really was a plum role for her. She is going through a mid-life crisis and is not all sunshine and lollipops. It was such a good role that it reinvigorated Davis’s career. In each scene it is obvious that she is loving every moment of and tears up all the scenery she can get her teeth on.
-Isolated Score Track
-Joseph L. Mankiewicz: A Personal Journey
-Directed by Joseph L. Makiewicz
-The Real Eve
-The Secret of Sarah Siddons
-AMC Backstory: All About Eve
-Vintage Bette Davis Promotion
-Vintage Anne Baxter Promotion
-Fox Movietone News
-24-Page Collectible Book Packaging