Movie: All About Eve
Rating: 4 stars
This is a classic movie about what a rough life show biz is. It’s about how you can never rest on your laurels as a working actor—about how there’s always someone younger and hungrier out there just waiting to steal your place in the spotlight. But, I think there’s a bit more to this story than that. It isn’t presented as a simple cautionary tale. There’s a lot more suspense and drama, and stomach sinking revelations. This movie is almost edited like a horror movie, and that’s why I find it so fascinating.
This movie is, of course, a Bette Davis classic. She plays the famed stage actress, Margo Channing. And, Anne Baxter plays Eve, the innocent, little, backstage fan-girl, who snags the job of Margo’s assistant. Of course, as the story unfolds we learn that Eve’s intentions are hardly innocent. She has a sweet face, and demure demeanor, but is secretly a viper, just waiting for Margo to have a moment of weakness in which to strike. I’ve never quite understood the appeal of a “frenemy” relationship. I have a really low tolerance for this kind of undermining behavior and passive-aggressive barbs. And, I don’t really understand why people seem to be willing to tolerate it in a “friend.” Either two people like each other, and enjoy one another’s company, or they don’t. Why waste time hanging around someone you secretly kinda hate? But, there’s a lot about human motivations that will forever remain a mystery to me.
Despite all the warped psychology, this is a pretty fun movie. Bette Davis is always a riot. I love a willful, snarky, ill-tempered movie star. And, that’s basically Davis’ brand. She really commands all the attention in the room. Anne Baxter’s Eve may be mercenary and conniving, but her character doesn’t hold a candle to Davis’ Margo. And, I can’t entirely tell whether that’s due to the characters, or the personalities behind them. Additionally, the movie features a few scenes with Marilyn Monroe before she became a star. It’s obvious, even with the short amount of screen-time she gets in this film, why Monroe went on to become a really big deal. She’s quite the attention-grabber.
This movie is all about the ladies. The male characters might as well not be there. And, that’s always kinda fun. Sure, the guys are the focus of a few plot points, but they really just serve as pawns in the power struggle. Their presence isn’t necessary. The same narrative points could be made by merely mentioning them. This movie is a true classic and is definitely worth seeing. The story is well-crafted. The editing is creepy and suspenseful. And, the acting is captivating. Don’t let the old-timey, black and white nature of the movie keep you away from it.