Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.
USA, 1950. Twentieth Century Fox. Screenplay by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, inspired by the story The Wisdom Of Eve by Mary Orr. Cinematography by Milton R. Krasner. Produced by Darryl F. Zanuck. Music by Alfred Newman. Production Design by George W. Davis, Lyle R. Wheeler. Costume Design by Edith Head, Charles Le Maire. Film Editing by Barbara McLean. Academy Awards 1950. Cannes Film Festival 1951. Golden Globe Awards 1950.
Here’s perfect writing if ever a movie ever had it. Bette Davis plays famous and established actress Margo Channing, a self-centred but vulnerable woman who is pursued relentlessly by Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter), a seemingly innocent fan who worships Channing until she eventually becomes her personal assistant. Eve’s devotion soon becomes sinister, but when Margo lets her friends in on it they just think she’s being selfish and unfair. Celeste Holm is excellent as Margo’s best friend, who at first is on Eve’s side but eventually sees how ruthless she is in climbing to the top. The party scene early on in the film features some of the film’s best lines (“Fasten your seat belts…it’s going to be a bumpy night!”), though my personal favourite is towards the end when Davis tells Baxter to put her recently won acting award “where [her] heart should be”; Margo Channing is just about the best female character of the fifties. Features Marilyn Monroe in an early role.