Sunday, March 5, 2017

All About Eve (1950)

There is a list of films that I should have seen by now, but just haven't gotten around to watching. This became glaringly apparent over a decade ago in film school. While my list is shorter, it is certainly still lengthy. One of the films I have been meaning to watch was All About Eve (1950). Luckily, it was this month's film selection for the TCM and Fathom Events collaboration. I couldn't pass up the chance to see this on the big screen.

You've certainly heard the famous line from Ms. Bette Davis, "Buckle up, it's going to be a bumpy night!" The movie is a backstage story revolving around aspiring actress Eve Harrington. Looking shabby, Eve shows up in the dressing room of Broadway mega-star Margo Channing, telling a melancholy life story to Margo and her friends. Margo takes Eve under her wing, and it appears that Eve is a conniver that uses Margo. The story twist was unique for it's time, but it is one that has been replicated multiple times since then. Davis's famous "buckle up" line was an admonishment to the crowd at her party, as well as the audience watching the movie, as we are about to see the story arc unfold. And while, the story twist may be familiar, the theme of the story, which is critical of the world of show business, still holds true today. Be careful what you wish for when it comes to fame, because you might just get exactly what you want.

The film set a record at it's time with a 14 Academy Award nominations and one six. Bette Davis did not win for Best Actress, likely due to the fact that both Davis and co-star Anne Baxter were both in the Best Actress category. I'm not alone in stating that this is by far, Davis's best work. Baxter wasn't bad, but her screen time paled in comparison to Bette Davis and those eyes. Interestingly, in the 1970s, the film was made into a musical called Applause and Anne Baxter eventually took over the Davis role, Margot Channing in the show.  
Tonight was also the debut of Feud, the mini-series about What Ever Happened to Baby Jane and the rivalry between Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. The series has homages to films by both women and even the pilot episode has tributes to All About Eve. Ever since the end of the studio system, we just don't have stars the size of Bette Davis anymore. All About Eve is absolutely a film that anyone who says they love movies, should see. I can't believe I didn't get around to watching this sooner.