Eve (Anne Baxter) is waiting backstage to meet her idol, aging Broadway star Margo Channing (Bette Davis). It seems innocent enough as Eve explains that she has seen Margo in EVERY performance of her current play. Only playwright/critic DeWitt (George Sanders) sees through Eve's evil plan, which is to take her parts and her fiancé, Bill Simpson (Gary Merrill). When the fiancé shows no interest, she tries for playwright Lloyd Richards (Hugh Marlowe), but DeWitt stops her. After she accepts her award, she decides to skip the after-party and goes to her room, where a young woman named Phoebe has sneaked into her room and fallen asleep. This is where the "Circle of Life" now comes to fruition as Eve will get played like she played Margo.
In an introduction to the film on Turner Classic Movies in November 2008, Robert Osborne said that everyone assumed that Bette Davis had based her characterization on Tallulah Bankhead, even Tallulah herself. In fact, Bankhead even considered suing Twentieth-Century Fox, but decided not to, because Bette Davis "did such a good job. I've just been witched out of $1,000,000 by Bette being as good as me." But in 1952, Tallulah Bankhead starred in a radio adaptation of "All About Eve" which featured in the supporting cast Mary Orr, author of the original story "The Wisdom of Eve". According to Robert Osborne, during a rehearsal Tallulah asked Mary Orr: "I was the prototype for Margo Channing, wasn't I?" and Orr set the record straight and said "no". Tallulah reportedly never spoke to Mary Orr again. See more »
After Margo reads the note written by Eve, Bill says, "I understand she's now the understudy in there." However, when he turns his head to the camera, his lips aren't forming any words. See more »
You will see yourself in every character in this very intelligent, entrancing movie. Though set in "the theatre," the story could just as easily have been told in a small town, a corporation even a religious organization. Being set in the "glamorous" world of entertainment its seems all the more timely in these days of fame, fortune and the insufficiency (almost shame) of being ordinary. The theatre setting also underscores the reality that the world is a stage, and all its people, players.
So much to study in this movie: the genuine, trusting (and romantic) human; the streetwise, good, hardworking human, who's seen it all and doesn't embrace it; the jaded, heart-hardened, deceitful loser with power, who admires the same and disdains human goodness; the ambitious sociopath who fools so many; the unsuspecting onlookers who see only the façade of success; the inescapable fact that supreme achievement has been had by very low characters; the painful passage of an aging woman into the light of knowing she's loved for being beautiful beyond her appearance, for being HER; the touching portrayal of her lover who remembers his love for her as he passes on a much younger, beautiful, talented actress; the sorrow of a (betraying) friend who discovers the frightened and lonely heart of her successful friend The dialogue is sharp and clever, barked and growled, smarmy and tender A truly human movie about being human. Go find yourself in everyone!
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