All About Eve Reviews
All About Eve uses great acting, a smart premise, and clever writing to form one of the best dramas.
There are some great lines here; in addition to the famous "Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night", I loved it when Davis exclaimed "I'm not twenty-ish, I'm not thirty-ish. Three months ago I was forty years old. Forty. 4-0. That slipped out. I hadn't quite made up my mind to admit it. Now I suddenly feel as if I've taken all my clothes off." Davis herself was 42, and this line and others ring true. George Sanders (as Addison DeWitt) is also fantastic, at one point saying "You're an improbable person, Eve, and so am I. We have that in common. Also, a contempt for humanity, an inability to love and be loved, insatiable ambition, and talent. We deserve each other."
These quotes capture the spirit of the movie, which to me is simply about the difficulties that aging women face, and the cold and calculating world of the theater. There is supposedly a homosexual element, a theory put forth and apparently confirmed by writer and director Joseph L. Mankiewicz, but it's so subtle, perhaps because of the Hays Code, that it didn't even register with me, and I think it's irrelevant. These characters are in the best cases rough around the edges, and in the worse, simply awful people. We see Margot being slowly replaced and want to feel sympathy for her, but it's tough because she's so abrasive. We see the evil side of Eve slowly unveil itself as it becomes apparent she's far from being a starstruck fan or even who she says she is. And at the end we see that she, too, will be replaced. It's all a bit grim: time, a machine that grinds them down, and competition for glory that leads to Machiavellian backstabbing. It's ironic that Davis was such a diva that there was discord amongst the actors, and Baxter pushing her way into a 'Best Actress' nomination instead of 'Best Supporting Actress' would lead to a division of the vote and neither of them winning. I was happy to see Marilyn Monroe in a small part at age 24 and before she was big, just to bring some lightness into the film. This is certainly a good movie, don't get me wrong, but it's not one I'd watch again and again as I would my favorites.