Bombshell on the Box – Bette (and Marilyn) Alert!
ALL ABOUT EVE, Film4, Fri Mar 12, 2.40pm
Okay, it’s really a Bette Alert – but Marilyn does have a small part in this Oscar heavy movie that gained 14 nominations and six wins. It was 47 years before any other movie equalled its nominations record, in 1997 – that honour going to Titanic. And i think we all know which is the better film….
The plot is simple – a wannabee actress looking for her big break carefully worms her way into the glamorous life of legendary Broadway star and tried to supplant her, privately and professionally. The script by Joseph L Mankiewicz is excellent – a masterpiece of sly wit and subtle manipulation, and the acting is superb.
Bette Davis was handed the dream role when she was cast as that star, Margo Channing, an indomitable diva caught up in the throes of a mid-life crisis both on and off stage. Amazing then that Claudette Colbert was the first choice here, but Bette stepped in when she was injured and couldn’t take the part. Davis is quite simply brilliant – bitchy, mauling, yet evoking sympathy in us when required – the perfect actress!
Eve is brilliantly played by Anne Baxter. Both she and Bette may have won Oscars themselves had Baxter not refused to place herself in the Best Supporting Actress category. Davis and her lost out to Judy Holliday that year who won for Born Yesterday.
All About Eve has developed a cult status over the years, and really should be on everyone’s top ten must-see movie list.