on 1 May 2005
This is one incredible film, that's for sure. Everything about the film - script, acting, story - all of it - comes together to make the kind of film that doesn't come along very often. The movie was single-handidly responsible for restoring Bette Davis' career to it's finest hour after years of bum roles she was forced to play by Warner Bros. Davis plays her role flawlessly and to perfection. The film was a also a career-defining role for young starlet of the time Anne Baxter who is also outstanding as the ruthlessly ambitious Eve. In addition, even the iconic Marilyn Monroe makes a show-stopping enterance in a role that gave her the first glimpses of recognition and which would lead her onto more important roles. This movie is one of those films you simply must see. It's a must-watch for anyone studying Cinema or the Media in general because it was such an important step foward and it really was a very groundbreaking movie. And the best part? It still holds up today! You'll be totally absorbed throughout and be totally amazed by everything from acting, to script to storyline. Oustanding.
on 30 July 2005
Apparently Bette Davis was absolutely devastated that she didn't win a third best actress Oscar for her role as Margo Channing, the aging grand dame of the New York stage. It's one of the great ironies of movie history, because in All About Eve, Bette gives what many regard as her finest and most towering performance.
However, it's not only Davis that anchors this remarkable film, but the biting performances of all the cast. The performances, combined with the witty, acerbic dialogue, and the gorgeous production design, leave absolutely no room for doubt that All About Eve is one of the best Hollywood films ever made.
The modest plot - which is merely a framework for showcasing the characters agendas and highlighting the script's glittering dialogue - revolves around the journey of Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter) as she climbs from struggling Broadway actress to scintillating star. The story is told in flashback from an awards ceremony for Eve wherein various participants tell us in confidence about the guest of honor.
As the camera pans on their faces and we listen to a voice over by one of the participants, we soon learn that Eve has shrewdly and cunningly manipulated her friends and colleagues to suit her own needs while ruthlessly climbing to the top of her profession. The woman she chooses as her mentor, and whom she later double-crosses, is Margo Channing (Davis), a neurotically successful stage actress who has recently entered her forties and has become concerned about her advancing age.
Eve intially presents herself to Margo as a devoted fan who insinuates herself into the lives of the theater people she meets and soon becomes Margo's personal assistant, then her understudy. But Eve is hiding a shady past, and from the outset it's obvious that she's not all that she seems to be. Her demure, and self-effacing behaviour hides the fact that she secretly longs to take Margo's place on the stage and in her bed with Margo's boyfriend and director Bill Sampson (Gary Merrill).
Unaware of the depth of Eve's deviousness and the extent of her machinations, theatre critic Addison DeWitt (George Sanders) and the wife of playwright Lloyd Richards (Hugh Marlowe), Karen (Celeste Holm) unwittingly assist in the young girl's rise to the top. Eventually, everyone wises up to Eve's duplicity, but not before she's left a web of betrayal and cold-hearted deceitfulness behind her.
Although the plot revolves around Eve, the real star of the movie is Margo. Margo is insecure at turning forty in a profession where forty is considered positively ancient and where most actresses begin to lose their ability to play pretty young things. The actress is fraught with neurosis: she convinces herself that Bill is going to leave her for a younger woman, and that Lloyd is going to start offering the choice parts in his plays to younger women. It's only the kindly Karen that keeps her grounded and on track.
Margo is demanding, egotistical, and popularity obsessed, but she's also enormously talented and has devoted her life to the theater, not even having time for marriage. She's an insecure, jittery, and anxious mess, and Ms. Davis plays her to the hilt. By contrast Baxter, complete with a doll-like, almost angelic face plays Eve with a competent sweet self-confidence.
Eve's a naive young woman who starts at the bottom of the show business ladder, as a devoted, heartsick and star struck fan. She expects to be handed the world of acting on a silver plater every day the way she was on her opening night. When she doesn't get it, she schemes and manipulates, eventually alienating anyone who ever cared about her.
It's probably a bit if a stretch to call All About Eve the greatest movie ever made. However, the film is certainly one of the wittiest, most devastatingly clever, most adult, and most erudite motion pictures ever made. The film is also a very dark and cynical social satire that effectively explores, with a type of intellectual and literate grandiosoty, the insecurities of aging, and the results of unchecked ambition.The script is arguably the best-written script ever to come out of the classical Hollywood system.
But All About Eve is perhaps most memorable for the soaring, self-mocking, and fearless performance by Ms. Davis, and the almost equally memorable performances by the rest of the ensemble - including a very young and sexy looking Marilyn Monroe. All About Eve stands as a testament to screen writing of the highest caliber and quality, and the ensuing satire remains as entertaining today, and as mordantly relevant as ever. Mike Leonard July 05.
on 19 March 2007
Surely one of the best films ever made? Should be compulsory viewing (it's certainly compulsive viewing). It amazes me that you can get this classic piece of cinema for less than a fiver, when they charge more than twice as much for the largely forgettable and disposable trash pumped out of Hollywood studios these days.
All About Eve is one of the finest Hollywood movies which takes a harshly realistic view of the theatre business. This multi Oscar winning film has finally received the hi def transfer it deserves. The detail is impressive and the image crystal clear. Fasten your seat-belts when you view this one - it may be a bumpy night for the film's characters but it will be a very smooth ride indeed for viewers.
Bette Davis has rarely given a better performance in a movie which revived her fading career. I cannot endorse this blu-ray more strongly. The extras are first rate too.
Please note it's presented in its original aspect ratio: 1.37:1 - so don't expect either colour or wide-screen.
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Aspect ratio: 1.37:1
Original aspect ratio: 1.37:1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
English: Dolby Digital Mono
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
French: DTS 5.1 ...
Note: Latin & Castillian Spanis...
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
English: Dolby Digital Mono
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
French: DTS 5.1
Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1
German: DTS 5.1
Italian: DTS 5.1
Russian: Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish: DTS 5.1
Thai: Dolby Digital 2.0
Japanese: DTS 5.1
Note: Latin & Castillian Spanish
English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, German, Italian, Cantonese, Danish, Dutch...etc
English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, German, Italian, Cantonese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Icelandic, Korean, Mandarin (Traditional), Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Swedish, Thai
50GB Blu-ray Disc
Single disc (1 BD)
It is not only all about Eve, it is about the theatre world. Just as the final sequence rounds off our understanding of the real Eve Harrington, it also reveals that there will always be those who reach the top in the theatre world and those who aspire to reach it. As dialogue-laden and full of quotable quotes as any play, the film rarely provides glimpses of any play performance. Instead it reveals the back-stage relations between director, producer, writer, actress, their partners, dresser, critic, under-study, etc. Their world is a comedy/drama in itself.
Working from a tiny story by Mary Orr, Joseph Mankiewicz wrote, master-minded and directed the film and Daryl F Zanuck produced it. Their work, and the work of cast members Bette Davis, George Sanders, Anne Baxter, Celeste Holm, Thelma Ritter and Gregory Ratoff is seen at its best here. In its year (1950) it garnered six Oscars and 14 nominations. Critics and audiences, ever since, have always rated it amongst their favourite films.
on 22 February 2016
It's inconceivable that anyone else other than Bette Davis could possibly have taken the rôle of Margo Channing in ALL ABOUT EVE! The fact that she did not win the Best Actress Oscar, was a huge miscarriage of artistic justice. The film is worthy of all 14 nominations & eventual 6 wins. There are other more lengthy & detailed reviews with 5 stars, but I just like to put a few personal comments down.
The cast is excellent, the young Marilyn Monroe given her first important part. The brilliant witty & intelligent script giving Bette Davis one of the most iconic phrases in all cinema! Oscar-winning costume designer Edith Head created gowns for Davis, that the star apparently coveted like no others she had ever worn! This is a wonderful DVD & I'm thrilled to have this film in my collection.
Delivered in 3 days!
on 11 October 2015
A perfect masterpiece and an epitome of perfect storytelling based on superlative balance of script, direction and acting .
After so many decades it still looks and sounds totally contemporary and up to date, like it was made yesterday. All about Eve is a enlightening story about the women, society and success, structured on a diabolic plot where every piece is on the right place at the right time, but still it does not look like just a measured, arbitrary and artificially cold story.
They are types, but also true characters, so you can identify with them or refuse them, but you can't ignore their reasons, motifs and feelings.
Blu ray is pretty remarkable both in the hd transfer and in the extra
*** THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE 2011 'BLU RAY' REISSUE VERSION ***
On 23 February 2006, 20th Century Fox issued their new "Cinema Reserve" Series on DVD in the UK. Fox's mission-statement was to present their best back catalogue in the very best way. It some instances, this actually worked - in others it didn't (see my review for the 1951 Sci-Fi masterpiece "The Day The Earth Stood Still" - Number 001 in the series). The list eventually petered out at Number 17 in July 2007 ("Some Like It Hot") when the new High Definition formats began taking over and further issues seemed and were pointless.
Which brings us to this January 2011 single-disc Blu Ray reissue. Number 003 in the "Cinema Reserve" series was the 1950 black and white classic "All About Eve". It came in a 2-disc steel-tin, had a specially shaped info-filled concertina-booklet, extra features and a supposedly newly restored print. This reissue adds even more 'extra' content to that 2006 2DVD set, genuinely upgrades the print quality, but loses the fancy packaging (mores the pity).
First and foremost is the PRINT itself - I've re-watched the CR version and then this - and the improvement here is very noticeable - even at times meeting the claim of being 'restored to pristine quality'. The CR version had scratches on the negative in several places like ruined old stock - and worse - had the dreaded blocking and blurring of dust afflicting large portions of the film. The print here is far cleaner - and at times quite dazzling. There are small bits where it lets the side down (street shots, night-time sequences), but you're aware that a major transformation has taken place. And the sound is very clean too...
The extras are a mixed bag - here's what's on offer:
1. Audio Commentary by Celeste Holm (the actress who played Karon Richards in the film), Christopher Mankiewicz (son of the Writer & Director, Joseph L. Mankiewicz) and Kenneth Geist (Author of "Pictures Will Talk" - a biography on the sixty films of Joseph L Mankiewicz)
2. Audio Commentary by Sam Staggs (author of the novel "All About Eve")
3. 4 Movietone News Segments
(a) 1951: Academy Awards Honor Best Film Achievement (2:22 minutes)
(b) 1951: Hollywood Awards Gala Premier Of "All About Eve" (1:50 minutes)
(c) Holiday Magazine Awards (2:42 minutes)
(d) Look Magazine Awards (1:50 minutes)
4. 3 Featurettes
(a) Backstory: "All About Eve" (24 minutes)
(b) Bette Davis Interviewed by "New Week" Magazine (1 minute)
(c) Anne Baxter Interviewed by "Woman's Home Magazine" (1 minute)
5. Original Theatrical Trailer
As you can see from the above list, you 'seem' to be offered a lot in the way of extras, but much of it is very short and very disposable. The commentaries are excellent and the main featurette - "Backstory" - tells how Joseph Mankiewicz took a short story by Mary Orr called "The Wisdom Of Eve" from a New York magazine and adapted it into a screenplay he initially called "Best Performance". Fox's Darryl F. Zanuck loved it, but noticed what he thought would be a better title in the first page (he circled it) - "All About Eve".
"Backstory" then goes into how Claudia Colbert threw out her back two weeks before principal shooting and only at the last minute and with great reluctance did Zanuck call in the hated Bette Davis ("You'll never work in this town again..."). Davis saw the genius in it immediately - agreed to do it - was as sweet as light on set - and re-launched her fading career at 41. It opened 13 October 1950 to genuine critical acclaim - eventually earning it a staggering 14 Oscar Nominations (a record only equalled by "Titanic" in 1995). Although "All About Eve" did win 6 Oscars including the big ones - Best Picture, Screenplay and Direction - four of its actresses - Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, Celeste Holm and Thelma Ritter - were all famously nominated, but lost out on that March 1951 night. All of this and a few lines for the luminous Marilyn Monroe in an early role.
The weirdest extra is "Holiday Magazine" Awards where none of the stars showed and it seems to be hosted by some morally uptight fascist hijacking the film to stamp his own agenda on things...it has a slightly sinister big-brother feel to it. The "Look Magazine" footage is badly corrupted so the vocal track is missing much of the time - and although it contains segments with Bette Davis, Bob Hope and even Jimmy Stewart - it's chopped and very disjointed - fascinating though.
As to the movie itself - in a world where playwrights treat actors with disdain ("It's about time the piano realised it didn't compose the Concerto...") and lead actresses are treated like Goddesses (Eve's assessment of Margo titles this review), only George Saunders caustically casts a sceptic eye over the proceedings. He plays Addison De Witt - an aristocratic theatre critic who sees right through Eve's single-minded determination to usurp Margo's crown and be the toast of the theatre boards. Anne Baxter plays Eve Harrington (wannabe actress) and Bette Davis plays the object of her lust - actress and beloved star Margo Channing - with Bette's part literally being Art imitating Life. Davis is magnificent in the role.
Speaking of larger than life characters and genius, George Saunders (who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor) opens the film in a voice-over that goes for 4 minutes straight. Ruminating on all the principal characters in the movie (the camera pans to each sat at some dreary awards ceremony - and then the film backtracks as to how all got there) - its quite possibly some of the best dialogue ever written - incredibly insightful stuff that would make Aaron Sorkin green with envy. And its biting assessments still sound relevant to this day - 61 years on.
To sum up - while this is a genuine upgrade onto Blu Ray in terms of picture quality, and the extras do at least compliment the main feature, it's kind of a shame that Fox didn't retain the Cinema Reserve packaging that made them so covetous in the first place. It may seem like a small point, but some kind of specialist packaging for their 'classics' other than the bland generic Blue Box would have honoured this gem that bit better.
And as you've probably guessed - the "Cinema Reserve" issues are now being reissued by Fox one by one onto Blu Ray ("The Hustler" had a beautiful print, but "Lifeboat" was awful). I've had to live with this reissue for a while now, but the difference is definitely there. I hope Fox use the same picture clean-up process for all their reissues...
"Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night..." Bette Davis warned. She was of course right...
For a film made in 1950 this is a surprisingly cynical movie, portraying as it does the back-stabbing and general cut-throat way the movie business creates huge stars, or at a wim might ignore great talent.
Anne Baxter plays the little girl lost Eve Harrington who manages to worm her way into the life of the great star Margo Channing (Bette Davis). Initially Eve just helps Margo out with dd jobs, but little by little she makes her way up the ladder to success (I'm giving nothing away here as you will find out when you watch the start of the film).
The script and performances are uniformly excellent. The acting honours are split between Bette Davis and George Sanders, who both have that rare gift of dominating a scene without really needing to do anything. Anne Baxter is good as Eve, but of the main characters I felt her performance was probably the weakest. Look out for a stunning looking Marilyn Monroe (aged only 24 at the time) in a minor role as Miss Caswell.
This really isn't my sort of film, and I expected it to be very slow going. However nothing could be further from the truth. I found it quite mesmerising and strongly recommend it.
All About Eve is generally accepted in the film critic's world as having a faultless script, brilliant dialogue, multidimensional characters, brilliant cinematography and atmospheric music. Everything about it, they say, is perfect.
Although i wouldn't place All About Eve above Dekalog or Le Mepris, it certainly is always up there among my favourites. It tells the story of luckless Eve Harrington(Anne Baxter at her best), who is taken under the wing by famous actress Margo Channing (Bette Davies at her best). What follows from then on is incredibly interesting and features flawlessly realised characterisation, i wouldn't want to spoil the film for you by revealing the plot, but this is a film about women, and features some superbly catty remarks and underhand actions. It's consistantly in books of the greatest films of all time, and must be so.
The twist and turns of the suprising but beautifully restrained plot make this a worthwhile purchase on that alone, but bringing everything else into account it makes it a must have for anyone interested in classic films.
Picture quality is perfect, It appears Cinema Reserve truly do what they say on the tin (excuse the pun!) Special features include 4 fairly interesting featurettes, commentaries, news clips and a trailer
You won't regret buying this absolute genius of a film!!