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Friday, 6 July 2012

All About Eve (1950)

Star birthday... George Sanders

Star birthday... George Sanders
George Sanders was born in Russia on 3 July 1906. He began his film career in British film before moving to Hollywood. His strong English accent often led him to be typecast as sophisticated and villainous roles.

George Sanders died 25 April 1972 at age 65 by suicide. He took five bottles of Nembutal and left a suicide note reading:

"Dear World, I am leaving because I am bored. I feel I have lived long enough. I am leaving you with your worries in this sweet cesspool. Good luck"
George Sanders is best known for his role as Addison DeWitt in All About Eve (1950), for which he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Recommended viewing

All About Eve (1950)

"Fasten your seat belts... it's going to be a bumpy night!"

'All About Eve' is a 1950 drama about one of the most cunning and evil people in the world... Eve Harrington.

The film stars Bette DavisAnne BaxterGeorge SandersCeleste HolmGarry MerrillThelma RitterHugh MarloweBarbara Bates and Marilyn Monroe in one of her earliest roles. Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, the film is a multi-award winner, including the Best Picture Oscar.

Watch the trailer:

In 1990, the film was selected for preservation by the Library of Congress National Film Registry as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant."

The stars of the film
All About Eve is a very special film for me, as it is the only film to feature my two favourite movie stars, Bette Davis and Marilyn Monroe. What's better is they even share some scenes. Marilyn plays aspiring actress Miss Claudia Caswell, who is described as a "student of the Copacabana School of Dramatic Art". For her performance Marilyn was $500 per week, with at least one week guaranteed.

A then "unknown" Marilyn Monroe shares a scene
with Bette Davis
Eve Harrington (played by Baxter) is an innocent, die hard fan of Margo Channing (played Davis), who has seen every single performance of Margo's latest play. With the help of a playwright's wife Karen (played by Holm), Eve becomes Margo's assistant and moves into the guest room of her home.

While working for her, Eve studies Margo, begins to talk and dress like her, and even weasels her way into becoming Margo's understudy. As a prank Karen conspires with Eve to enable Margo to miss a performance, to give each a chance to perform. Knowing she will be performing Eve invites all the local theatre critics to view the performance, for which she gets fantastic reviews.

Eve adds strain to Margo's relationship with playwright Lloyd (played by Marlowe), and her boyfriend Bill (played by Bette Davis' real life husband at the time Gary Merrill). 

All of this heats the pot in what becomes a dramatic saga of bitchyness and deceit, as Eve connives her way into the lives of Margo and her friends, doing her best to destroy each of them.

Calling the character Eve is clever, considering it was Eve who betrayed Adam, causing them both to be banished from the Garden of Eden.

George Sanders as cold blooded theatre critic
Addison DeWitt

Awards and nominations

  • Academy Award winner for Best Picture
  • Academy Award winner for Best Director
  • Academy Award winner for Best Supporting Actor (George Sanders)
  • Academy Award winner for Best Costume Design for a Black and White film (Edith Head)
  • Academy Award winner for Best Writing, Screenplay
  • Academy Award winner for Best Sound Recording
  • Academy Award nomination for Best Leading Actress (Bette Davis)
  • Academy Award nomination for Best Leading Actress (Anne Baxter)
  • Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress (Celeste Holm)
  • Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress (Thelma Ritter)
  • Academy Award nomination for Best Set Direction for a Black and White film
  • Academy Award nomination for Best Cinematography for a Black and White film
  • Academy Award nomination for Best Film Editing
  • Academy Award nomination for Best Music Score
  • Golden Globe winner for Best Motion Picture Screenplay
  • Golden Globe nomination for Best Drama Motion Picture
  • Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress for a Drama (Bette Davis)
  • Golden Globe nomination for Best Director
  • Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor (George Sanders)
  • Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress (Thelma Ritter)

    Closing remarks

    I absolutely love this film, and enjoy watching this over and over. In my opinion it is one of Bette Davis's greatest performances, and definitely Marilyn Monroe's best film, although she is only a minor role in it. Had the film been made 15 years earlier, Bette Davis would have been the ideal actress to play Eve.

    Remember, this film is a warning... beware of Eve. The world is full of Eve's...  Young innocent protégées with hidden ambition who secretly drive nails into the backs of their mentors. If you have an assistant watch your back, your assistant might just "pull an Eve" on you.

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