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Customer Review

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the ultimate in Hollywood classics just got better..., February 21, 2008
This review is from: All About Eve (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
The brand-new Special Edition of ALL ABOUT EVE offers a fantastic insight into one of the most influential and refreshing films to have emerged from Hollywood in the 1950s. Still as potent and as darkly hilarious now as when it was first released, ALL ABOUT EVE tells the story of a seemingly-innocuous young woman called Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter), who worms her way into the life of her idol, stage star Margo Channing (Bette Davis). Eve soon makes herself indispensable in Margo's circle of friends and eventually becomes her understudy on stage as well as in life. But manipulative Eve will only settle for the ultimate goal...to eclipse Margo as the greatest star on Broadway.

Anne Baxter and Bette Davis delivers consummate performances as Eve and Margo. Baxter is so convincing as the down-on-her-luck Eve in the first scenes that, just like Margo and her friends, she pulls me in every time. She is simply that good. Bette Davis, who had recently ended her long-standing Warner Brothers contract, revived her career with her performance of Margo Channing, the imperious but ultimately flawed and very human stage diva. Celeste Holm (riding high following her Oscar win for "Gentleman's Agreement") is a delight as Margo's best friend Karen Richards. Thelma Ritter scored an Oscar nomination for her role as Margo's wisecracking assistant Birdie Coonan. George Sanders plays the acid-tongued theater columnist Addison DeWitt with all the relish of a python going in for the kill. A very young Marilyn Monroe, on the cusp of her fame at Twentieth Century-Fox, plays eager young starlet Miss Caswell in the film's signature party scene. Gary Merrill and Hugh Marlowe are fine as the men in the lives of Margo and Karen.

ALL ABOUT EVE was nominated for a record 14 Academy Awards (a record that it still holds alongside "Titanic"). It won six trophies including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (George Sanders), Best Screenplay and Best Director (Joseph L. Mankiewicz). Both Anne Baxter and Bette Davis were nominated in the 'Best Actress' category, though they lost to Judy Holliday for "Born Yesterday". Baxter was supposed to have been nominated in the 'Best Supporting Actress' category, but insisted she be put into the 'Best Actress' competition, feeling her role in the film of equal importance to Bette Davis'. In later years, Baxter conceded that she should have kept her original nomination, as she would most certainly have won, and Bette Davis might have walked away with 'Best Actress'.

The wonderful new 2-disc Special Edition DVD from Fox comes with a fine assortment of bonus material including audio commentary with Celeste Holm, Kenneth Geist and Christopher Mankiewicz; and a second commentary track with "Eve" expert Sam Staggs. There is also the informative AMC "Backstory" episode on the making of the film (featuring wonderful interviews, filmed in 1983, with Anne Baxter and Bette Davis). There are also several publicity featurettes and MovieTone newsreels from the period.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 15, 2010 2:27:36 PM PDT
M. A. Casey says:
I completely disagree that Baxter was a supporting actress in this movie. She was clearly not supporting in this movie. She was leading. Bette Davis never won an Oscar after 1938, even though she was nominated many times after All About Eve. She would probably have lost anyway because she was not a well-liked woman in Hollywood. And Gloria Swanson didn't win because Hollywood insiders were angry about the way they were portrayed in Sunset Boulevard (and, to a much smaller degree, AAE, which also depicted showbusiness as the cutthroat industry that it has always been). Judy Holliday's win for Born Yesterday was all about politics and nothing more, not because Baxter's run in the lead "cancelled out" Davis's chances of winning, as was claimed in the commentary. What garbage!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 27, 2010 3:57:21 PM PDT
musicman37 says:
Your points are well taken, and may also be true, Anne Baxter WAS a leading actress in this film, but the argument was that she insisted on being placed in that category when she had been nominated in the Supporting Actress category. This action DID cancel out both their chances, as she herself had said, if she'd kept her mouth shut, she and Bette would probably have BOTH won.

Your assertion that Bette Davis was "not a well-liked woman in Hollywood" is garbage; would she have had such a stellar career if that were the case? I think not. She won no more awards because she was an outspoken WOMAN at a time when it was unfashionable to be so. MEN ran Hollywood then, so, yes, it was politics, but not the kind you describe.
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