All About Eve (1950)
Dirrected by Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Who’s in it? Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders, Celeste Holm, Thelma Ritter
What’s it about? Based on the short story “The Wisdom of Eve”, which first appeared in a 1946 issue of Cosmopolitan, All About Eve sees the immortal Bette Davis (The Little Foxes) as an ageing Broadway star and Anne Baxter (The Magnificent Ambersons) as the bright eyed and bushy tailed newcomer threatening to steal her waning limelight. Including a brief cameo by a young Marilyn Monroe in one of her first screen roles, All About Eve was nominated for an unprecedented 14 Oscars, winning six including Best Picture, and is still the only film ever to receive nominations for four of its female stars; one Best actress nod each for Davis and Baxter with co-stars Celeste Holm and Thelma Ritter recognised in the Best Supporting Actress category, earning its place as #16 in the American Film Institute’s 1998 list of 100 Best American Films.
Memorble Moments? Some devastating trademark Bette Davis glowering aside, All About Eve produced one of Hollywood’s most quoted lines: “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night”, voted 9th in the AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Movie Quotes list.
Look Who’s Talking: ‘What makes the picture seem so good (what makes it eminently worth seeing) is the satirical touches in its detail and the performance of Bette Davis.’ – The New Republic
Like that? Try This: The Little Foxes (1941) stars Bette Davis as a merciless southern matriarch with her cold heart fixed on money at the expense of her husband’s failing health and her daughter’s fragile respect. A uncomfortable drama of family feuds and selfish agendas as the film challenges us to reflect on what is really important and the sacrifices required to protect it.
Trivia Pursuit: The film was paid homage in a 2008 Simpsons episode in which an apprentice Lisa ends up stealing Krusty the Clown’s TV show spotlight.
Ronan Wright blogs about films from Belfast at Filmplicity.