All About Eve (1950) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Diane of Tvor Travels. Thanks for the review, Diane! πŸ™‚ Now let’s see what she thinks of All About Eve, IMDB rank 104 out of 250…

There are another 14 movies available if anyone wants to do a guest review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE. Also, if you’d like to add a link to your IMDB review(s) on your own blogs, feel free to use any of the logos at the top of any of these guest reviews.

All About Eve (1950)

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Writer: Joseph L. Mankiewicz

All About Eve is one of my all time favourite movies. It has a feel of being one of those films that was adapted from a stage play, probably because it’s all about the theatre, the actors and the rivalries but it was in fact, based on a short story “The Wisdom of Eve” by Mary Orr. The script was written by Joseph L. Mankiewicz.

The basic premise of the movie is about an aging Broadway star, Margo Channing. She’s just turned 40, she’s a brilliant and talented actress, but the best roles are for the younger engenue and it’s getting more and more difficult for her to pass as one. Age and experience has a way of contributing a jaded attitude that does not work well with a role for a younger character, after all. Her lover is 8 years younger than her, and she’s feeling insecure about that, as well. Into the mix comes Eve Harrington, seemingly a star struck young woman who looks up to Margo and wants to be like her. In every way. She wants to be a famous actress and is determined to claw her way to the top using any scheming means necessary including seduction, subversive manipulation, and metaphorical back stabbing. Completing the main cast are Margo’s younger lover, Bill who is a director, her best friend, Karen, her friend’s husband, Lloyd, who writes the plays Margo has starred in.

The movie starts with an awards ceremony where Eve Harrington is receiving the very prestigious Sarah Siddon’s award for Distinguished Achievement. We then backtrack. Eve Harrington shows up at the stage door one dark and rainy night. Karen invites her to meet her idol, Margo Channing, and Eve narrates her life story, a classic and a bit cheesy story of a poor farm girl who wanted to be an actress but has lived a boring and dull life until she discovered amateur dramatics and later, Margo Channing. She even tells them she married a war hero who was killed in action. It’s all very tragic. Just as Eve intended. Here we have a fabulous line from Birdie, Margo’s assistant and dresser. “What a story! Everything but the bloodhounds snapping at her rear end!”

The action is narrated from various points of view through the course of the film. We start with sardonic theatre critic, Addison deWitt then move over to Karen when Eve is introduced. Margo takes over at the start of Eve being taken on as an assistant. It’s interesting, and it adds that little extra aspect to the characters and their reactions to Eve. Addison has the full measure of the diabolical Eve and manages to rein her in from her most destructive tendencies but Addison also likes to hitch his wagon to a winner and he can see the writing on the wall. Karen is naive and like most of the characters, believes Eve’s stories and explanations at first. Margo sees nothing but what Eve wants her to see, blinded by the young woman’s adoration of her at first until her jealousy and insecurity take hold.

We follow Eve as she insinuates herself into Margo’s life as she worms her way up the ladder to the boards of the stage, getting a chance as the understudy that makes her triumphant debut and a star is born. Lloyd becomes enchanted by Eve’s young talent. Bill becomes disenchanted by Margo’s jealousy. Eve plays them all like chess pieces. But Eve’s also going to have to watch her own back. Karma might be waiting in the wings.

The cast is superb, with Bette Davis taking the role of Margo and Anne Baxter as Eve. Gary Merrill plays Bill, Margo’s husband and was married to Bette Davis by the time the film was released in 1950. Addison deWitt is played by the wonderful George Sanders with Celeste Holm and Hugh Marlowe as Karen and Lloyd. The film is also noted for an early appearance by Marilyn Monroe in the famous scene that ends with the legendary Davis line “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night”. In fact, this movie is full of superb dialogue.

The movie pokes holes in Broadway, the actors and the lifestyle and it shows a not-so-nice side of the business, where men can age and continue to get great parts, but women can’t. Things are getting a little better in that respect, but it’s not come along in leaps and bounds, either. The film was nominated for and won a lot of awards including the Oscar for Best Picture in a year where it competed with Sunset Boulevard, another really strong movie. Anne Baxter and Bette Davis were both nominated for Best Actress and neither won, probably splitting the vote.

I’m sure the character of Margo, very similar in age to Davis, exhibiting the fear, vulnerability and insecurities of an actress at that age and in that time period probably felt very familiar. She certainly made the character believable and played it very realistically. That’s what was so great about Bette Davis, she never backed down from a character, even if the character was unflattering or unlikeable. She would want the character to transcend the actress and that’s why she was one of the best of what she did. For me, this is Bette Davis at the very top of her game.

Rebecca (1940) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

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For our second IMDB Top 250 Guest Review (you people are so quick!), we have Rob from the delightful MovieRob blog. Rob watches lots of movies. And by “lots”, I mean that he’s seen way more movies than me. And way more movies than you. And, luckily for us, he reviews them all! He’s a lovely guy and always willing to have a chat about movies so please stop by his blog & leave him some comments. And this won’t be the last time you see him as part of this IMDB Top 250 series. πŸ™‚

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list HERE.

Now let’s turn things over to Rob & hear his thoughts on the (genius, in my opinion) Alfred Hitchcock film Rebecca, IMDB rank 123 out of 250

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“I’d like to have your advice on how to live comfortably without hard work.” – Jack Favell

Number of Times Seen – 1 (11 Feb 2014)

Brief Synopsis – A woman falls in love with a rich man who’s previous wife died mysteriously.

My Take on it – Here is another Best Picture winner that I had yet to see and thanks to Table9mutant’s challenge, I finally got around to watching it.

This movie is a very interesting psychological thriller/mystery which Hitchcock did quite well.
The acting by Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine is very believable and you can feel the tension building up throughout due to their performances. Hitchcock was known for finding ways to get the most out of his actors and this movie is no exception. It is rumored that Olivier was quite snobbish to Fontaine because he wanted his girlfriend (Vivien Leigh)cast in the role instead of her. Hitchcock heard this and told Fontaine that everyone hated her (not just Olivier) in order to get her to play her character more subdued and closed up.

As always, Hitchcock keeps us on the edge of our seats as he throws twists and turns at us throughout until we finally understand what is going on.

I only had two problems with this movie:

1) The main character played by Fontaine doesn’t have a name and is only referred to as Mrs. de Winter throughout which is quite annoying. Apparently since the book is all in first person, there is no need for her to have a name, but in a movie I found it slightly distracting.

2) This movie doesn’t age well, the psychological tension is still there, but it seems a bit subdued. I’m quite surprised that this won Best Picture, but when you look at it’s competitors, I can’t say I’m too surprised.

Winner of 2 Oscars (out of 11). It won Best Picture and cinematography. It lost Director (Hitchcock – This was his first nomination of 5); Actor (Olivier), Actress (Fontaine), Writing, Art Direction, Film Editing, Special Effects, Music and Supporting Actress (Judith Anderson)

Bottom Line – Interesting psychological thriller when Hitchcock was still warming up. Nice cast and Hitchcockian twists galore. Seems a bit dated now tho.

Recommended!

Rating – Globe Worthy
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Check out Rob’s *updated* movie stats here
To see his reviews of all Oscar Best Picture Winners click here