[This Review Contains Spoilers]
This film reminds of Sunset Boulevard, both films came out in the same year, touching on very similar themes. Mainly, abusive relationships and manipulative women. They have different takes on the same subject.
Sunset Boulevard, the main character is killed rather dramatically by a woman. She tried to keep that man the way a spider clings to a fly. Yet in some ways didn’t even mean to do it (you could argue), due to her mental instability.
All About Eve is far more purposeful and you’re not even sure where it’s going to begin with. Eve seems to be the perfect loyal fan to Margo (a great Broadway star). She takes care of everything, studying her, almost as if to become her. It feels creepy, but innocent to begin with.
Margo catches on long before her friends do, and they then declare her paranoid. She even briefly loses her boyfriend, Bill, over the incident.
She becomes angry, suspicious and a woman scorned.
Bette Davis adds such a vulnerability to Margo through her performance, it’s beyond commendable. The emotions that play on her face, the nuances, the way she can move from one feeling to the next. It’s fantastic and one of the most important reasons to watch this film.
Another is to see Marilyn Monroe early in her career. It’s interesting because she isn’t the draw of this film but you see the early glimmers of what makes her one later in her life. She had a winning smile and it’s nice watching her knowing what she later becomes.
Anne Baxter was great as Eve. The character played nice, the victim, the ‘lost lamb’ until her mask slips. She’s a bitch that’ll do anything to be a star, and that’s what she becomes. Ironically not understanding when the same process of physiological exploitation begins on her at the end of the film.
The best part about this film is the writing, it’s just so damn good. When the characters are spending time with each other, they act just like old friends do. The dialogue is perfect in scenes like that. I loved almost every written line, because they were clever, even witty.
In the end of the film Eve wins a trophy, all Margo says to her is: “Nice speech, Eve. But I wouldn’t worry too much about your heart. You can always put that award where your heart ought to be.”
It’s great. I loved it. A very satisfying line and film.
The ultimate problem I had with it is how some of the women are treated. Eve is a terrible person, but she gets slapped by Addison, a man that knows all her secrets. He declares that she belongs to him. That came across as harsh, then again maybe that’s the point of the film? That there are ‘villains’ everywhere. I’m not sure. He also seemingly abandons her at the end of the film, it’s odd and doesn’t make much sense. Perhaps a bit of irony?
Regardless, I still think it’s a great picture. It’s awesome watching Eve use everyone in Margo’s life for her own benefit only for it to blow up on her. I still love this film and think it’s worth a watch. A true classic.