The basic story involves a great, but aging
Broadway actress, Margo Channing (Davis), who takes in a female
fan, Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter) only to have this ambitious,
aspiring actress take over her life. The witty screenplay, by
director Mankiewicz, was taken from the story, "The Wisdom
of Eve", by Mary Orr.
Margo Channing learns the hard way that sometimes in life, what
a situation looks like in a moment of time, isn't what it is
in reality. After meeting a female fan, Eve, who seems to idolize
her, Margo hires Eve in the position of personal secretary and
aid. Eve however, slowly reveals her true colors and uses this
job to her own advantage. Eve soon uses her position to promote
herself, by sending birthday wishes in behalf of Margo, to Margo's
true love, director Bill Simpson (Gary Merrill), while personally
arranging a party for him. This act makes Margo livid.
By such schemes, and other lies, she manages
to become Margo's understudy. When Margo misses a show, Eve
gladly takes her place, and receives a rave review from taken
critic Addison DeWitt (George Sanders), who also makes rude,
snide comments about aging actresses, such as Margo.
Eve never stops scheming, even at the engagement
party for Margo and Bill Simpson. At this party, playwright
Lloyd Richards (Hugh Marlowe), & his wife, Karen Richards
(Celeste Holm), who are both great, long time friends of Margo
of course are there. Lloyd Richards had written many of the
plays that made Margo a star. Eve boldly gets Karen into her
clutches, and tries to force Karen to get her husband, Richard,
to give the lead in his new play to her, and not to Margo. Only
after Margo tells Lloyd that she is retiring, does the back-stabbing
Eve get the lead. Even the critic, Addison DeWitt, wakes up
to who Eve really is, and tells her that he is on to how she
The film ends with a powerful, unforgettable
scene. Without giving it away, it's the logical culmination
of all that came before. The scene will stick with you long
time after the film is over.
The film is a classic because of its accurate,
if bitter, look at Broadway life, clever dialogue, and great
acting, particularly by Davis. The film is known for a great
line. At one point, Davis advises friends at her party, "Buckle
your seat belts; It's going to be a bumpy night!" This
is my favorite scene in the film.
This film provides one of Marilyn Monroe's first screen appearances.
Appropriately enough, she plays an ambitious starlet.
Original casting... Claudette Colbert who had
to back out due to health problems.
During the filming, Davis and on-screen lover,
Gary Merrill, became an item, despite the fact that they were
both married to someone else at the time. They both got divorced
from their former spouses and married each other after the film
If you enjoyed ALL ABOUT EVE you may like "Soap Dish," "Bowfinger,"
"The Player," and/or "Get Shorty."