All About Eve (1950)

all-about-eve1anne baxter, bette davis, marilyn monroe & george sanders - all about eve 1950

One of the greatest films to live on in history. With 14 Academy Award nominations (tied with Titanic) and 5 A-list actors/actresses, All About Eve has lived on as a phenomenal film that mirrored the actors and actresses, behind the scenes.

Director, Joseph Mankiewicz, had actually found a short story from Cosmopolitan magazine called, The Wisdom of Eve, written by Mary Orr. The story was about a conniving young actress, who obsessively admires an aging star who reaches the critical age of 40.

Mankiewicz immediately hooked to the story, aware of it’s potential. He felt that it was unfair that an actress, once hitting that “critical” age, can no longer be considered beautiful or able to carry a role, in film.

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Mankiewicz had written a treatment immediately, with the title: “Best Performance.”

When Darryl F. Zanuck, studio executive and producer, read Mankiewicz script, he fell in love with it immediately. Zanuck loved it so much that he agreed to make it one of his personal productions. Which, is a huge deal my friends.

Moving on, once Zanuck began making notations he found a line near the beginning of script that said:

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 “…and no brighter light has ever dazzled the eye than Eve Harrington. Eve…but more Eve, later. All about Eve, in fact.”

When Zanuck saw the line, “All about eve” he shared his thoughts on it being the title, and you know, I think it was a great choice. “Best Performance” was alright, but All About Eve says it all.

Once the script was read through, and notations were made, Mankiewicz began his hunt: looking for actors and actresses. Although, I found it most interesting the actresses Mankiewicz went through to find the leading role of Margo Channing.

Gertrude-Lawrence1Mankiewicz had written the part of Channing for actress, Gertrude Lawrence. Unfortunately, Lawrence had insisted on singing along to “Liebestraum” during her drunk scene, which Mankiewicz resisted; Lawrence then walked out.

His next pick was Claudette Colbert, who was 46 at the time. There are actually two stories that I’ve heard regarding why Colbert didn’t take the role.

One story stated that Claudette had an awful skiing accident, second was how Colbert had sadly ruptured her disc in the making of Three Came Home (1950), which put her in traction for a long time.

I have to say that the second story sounds a lot more reliable, but whatever did happen, Claudette did not take the role, thus leaving: Bette Davis.

Now, the story for Davis is quite interesting. And I’m warning you, this may turn into a post about Bette Davis. Nonetheless, I do believe that Bette was born to play the character of Margo Channing.

“The public hailed her performance as one of the finest of her career,” and I agree. Bette is what many would say a ‘mirrored’ image of Margo. Many said that Bette didn’t really have to act at all, she just had to be on time and put 100% effort into her work.

All About Eve was actually the film that put Davis back on the map. Previously, before getting an offer for this film, Davis had made flops and signed off of Warner brothers after 18 years. On top of this, she was going through her third divorce. Poor Bette was faced with so much, and many believed that it was the end of the line for Davis; that she would not be making anymore films.

Fortunately, the light at the end of the tunnel faded. Mankiewicz, of course wanted Davis for the role, but Zanuck on the other hand, not so much.

bette_zanuckIn 1941, Davis walked out of her post as the President of the Motion Picture Academy, and since then, Zanuck and Davis had not been on speaking terms.

Zanuck, swallowed his pride and gave Davis a call, telling her about the role for All About Eve. Davis had actually thought that someone was prank calling her until Zanuck told her it would be “the role of a lifetime.”

Davis obviously knew where she stood with her career at the time; if this was going to be the role of a lifetime, she might as well just take a peek at the script.

When she did, Davis was soaring, she believed what Zanuck said. And what Zanuck said happened to be true, this film put Davis back on the maps.

Mankiewicz was sure that Bette would do exactly what she does with all her films; leave a footnote on every page of the script, and practically direct it herself.

This was not the case.

In fact, Bette felt the script complimented her, completely. Apparently, Bette mirrored her Character; everything she did, everything she said; it was Bette! On top of that Bette, in a way, regained a full throttle amount of life with this film. She met a man whom she absolutely adored; Gary Merill. Sadly, they were both married. But that didn’t stop the two.

Yes, they had an affair, and Bette didn’t care. She was happy! The two were married for ten years, and unfortunately, the two divorced. Bette claimed that Gary married Margo Channing, while she married Bill Simpson. As if the two stayed stuck in an unrealistic and fictional love.

But anyway! Geez, this is a lot of writing. Maybe a Part 2?

Nah! Moving forward, there were plenty of other juicy details behind the scenes, some that I think were contrasted in the film. The video below, by the way, basically states every piece of information that I just typed for you! ♥ You’re welcome!

So you all know Bette’s trusted friend in the film, right? Celeste Holmes? Yeah, there’s quite an interesting story behind them two.

Holmes said that she walked on set, early morning, saw Bette and did the cordial thing most would do. She said, “Good Morning.”

Celeste smiled and all, while Bette responded and said, “Oh $%&#, good manners.” That’s a four letter word that starts with an ‘s,’ by the way. And no, it’s not Ship. Holmes said the two hadn’t talked since then and even so, you can kind of feel that tension through the film. Although, Celeste was a great bud to have at Bette’s side, there was still a pinch of tension. Made the movie real!

So, the scene when Margo decides to give up the role of Cora and settle down with Bill, and Karen (Celeste) laughs her head off, you know what scene I’m talking about? In the video below, skip to about the 3 minute mark, and you’ll know what I’m talking about, in fact, you should watch the video from there, it’d make my life a lot easier:

The movie had practically played out in real life. Each actor and actress fitting the same definition as the characters, and the way friendships and rumors would make way into the film, was so real. I found that the relationship between Celeste Holmes and Bette Davis was the best on screen relationship that I had ever seen.

Most friends will be deathly honest with you, regarding almost any and every decision. Just as Holmes played out with Davis.

It was just everything about the cast, everything about the dialogue, and everything about the story that made All About Eve, all about fun!

I hope you all enjoyed this informational post, please be sure to leave a comment with any questions, and stop by soon, for another post on it’s way! ♥ adios!

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