Jump to content
Welcome to the new Earwolf Forums! Read more... ×
JulyDiaz

All About Eve

Recommended Posts

Fasten your seatbelts - this week Paul & Amy take on 1950's showbiz satire All About Eve! They marvel at how well Joseph Mankiewicz understands his female characters, dish on which actors secretly hated each other, and furiously debate whether the title character is actually all that bad. Plus: film critic and historian Karina Longworth (You Must Remember This) talks about Bette Davis and her place in Hollywood history.

 

In honor of Double Indemnity week, call the Unspooled voicemail line at 747-666-5824 and help us plot the perfect murder of Engineer Sam! Follow us on Twitter @Unspooled, and don’t forget to rate, review & subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts.

Share this post


Link to post

Why are people giving Paul crap about not emphasizing that these are “American” films? It’s the AMERICAN Film Institute! It’s literally the name of the organization. It would be like saying, “We are here at the Cheesecake Appreciation Society where we’re going to be discussing the best cakes ever made. And when I say ‘cake,’ I just want to clarify that I specifically mean ‘cheesecake’ and not carrot.”

Please, let’s not give our hosts a hard time over this

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
48 minutes ago, CameronH said:

Why are people giving Paul crap about not emphasizing that these are “American” films? It’s the AMERICAN Film Institute! It’s literally the name of the organization. It would be like saying, “We are here at the Cheesecake Appreciation Society where we’re going to be discussing the best cakes ever made. And when I say ‘cake,’ I just want to clarify that I specifically mean ‘cheesecake’ and not carrot.”

Please, let’s not give our hosts a hard time over this

Why isn't Sopranos or The Wire on this list from the American Film Institute?

I agree that we don't really need to give the hosts crap for not emphasizing the word "American" but an American institute can have an opinion on non-American films. And American could easily include any film from North or South America. It's certainly not the Amy's or Paul's problem.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Last night I posted on Letterboxd my quick reaction/review to the movie, and my main thought was wondering just how 'evil' Eve is.  Viewing from a more modern lens, I didn't think she was all that bad really, and frankly I kind of rooted for her.  The Camerons thought she was a clear villain, but I wasn't so sure... so I was quite curious and happy to hear that our discussion mirrored Paul & Amy's (Paul, I have your back on this!).  Eve is certainly manipulative and ambitious, but I dunno.  Is that not the acting world?  Curious how other people view the character of Eve. 

But yea, this was a really enjoyable film -- the writing is immediately striking, and the acting across the board was killer.  

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
On 8/9/2018 at 10:28 AM, AlmostAGhost said:

Last night I posted on Letterboxd my quick reaction/review to the movie, and my main thought was wondering just how 'evil' Eve is.  Viewing from a more modern lens, I didn't think she was all that bad really, and frankly I kind of rooted for her.  The Camerons thought she was a clear villain, but I wasn't so sure... so I was quite curious and happy to hear that our discussion mirrored Paul & Amy's (Paul, I have your back on this!).  Eve is certainly manipulative and ambitious, but I dunno.  Is that not the acting world?  Curious how other people view the character of Eve. 

But yea, this was a really enjoyable film -- the writing is immediately striking, and the acting across the board was killer.  

 

Lol! Yup, Paul’s on your side! (I lol’d) I guess my problem with Eve is just how Machiavellian she is. From the moment she’s introduced, she’s kind of waging this subtle war of attrition on Margo’s ego. Amy brought up a couple of instances in the podcast, but the one that stuck out to me is when Eve is given one of Margo’s suits and says something like “It fits almost perfectly. It just needed a little taking in here and letting out there.” On the surface, it sounds innocent enough, but it’s clear what she’s really saying.

Then, on top of that, she goes for Bill - the hot director. When that doesn’t work out, she goes for Lloyd - the hot writer. She’s doesn’t want them because she loves them, she wants them for what she can get from them.

Everything about Eve is a lie. A fact even more glaring when you compare her to Margo whose big break came from a place of innocence (4-years-old) and truth (literally baring herself to the audience). 

I can totally buy Eve as a sympathetic character but she’s definitely the villain. 

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
54 minutes ago, grudlian. said:

I agree that we don't really need to give the hosts crap for not emphasizing the word "American" but an American institute can have an opinion on non-American films. And American could easily include any film from North or South America. It's certainly not the Amy's or Paul's problem.

You're so cute for thinking that those who would self-apply  the "American" label are internationally minded.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Yea... this was my first time watching, and maybe the summation of all those subtle jabs would be more evident now I know the ending.  Like Paul, for instance, I didn't take the birthday call thing as some Machiavellian move at all, but now, I'm rethinking that.  There were a few lines where I was like "hmm" but I'm sure in a rewatch, I'd pick up more on those shades.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
12 minutes ago, AlmostAGhost said:

Yea... this was my first time watching, and maybe the summation of all those subtle jabs would be more evident now I know the ending.  Like Paul, for instance, I didn't take the birthday call thing as some Machiavellian move at all, but now, I'm rethinking that.  There were a few lines where I was like "hmm" but I'm sure in a rewatch, I'd pick up more on those shades.

I get that. This was my second time watching it, and I got a lot more out of it. (It just supplanted Citizen Kane at the top of my personal list :) )

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

I really enjoyed this movie, and like Paul, I haven't seen much of Bette Davis save for Baby Jane.

The writing here is somewhere between Hemingway and 30 Rock (as I type this, the Tina Fey clip just started playing, so that's awesome). Every line reveals and exposits something about the speaker. The dialogue is biting, witty, and full of puns and double entendre and metaphor. I had to watch the first 45 minutes over because I had started it in the background and realized I was lost because I wasn't paying much attention to what folks were saying, and once I closed the laptop I got totally absorbed purely by what they were saying.

I really think the writing and acting saves it, though. Next to "That was a great line," the thought I kept having the most throughout the movie is "This is great, but is it Top 100 great?" It's one of those movies that, to me, would feel more at home on the stage. Some of the cinematography feels a bit clunky, like when Addison (?) follows Eve into a room and then talks to her from 50 feet away while she's obscured by the wall of the room she just entered. Maybe that's supposed to be a symbolic shot, but the oddity of the composition was distracting at times.

But again, I really dug it and was surprised how relevant it still is (as I have been by several of the movies covered by this podcast). And I think I'm in love to Bette Davis now. 

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post

Amy spoke about it in the episode, but my personal take on the Eve/Phoebe dynamic at the end wasn't just about how the "new young thing" seems to be coming more rapidly, but specifically how it applies to Hollywood and its treatment of women over a certain age. To me, it felt like All About Eve was essentially saying, "You think it was bad for Margo? At least she was able to have a successful thirty-six year career. In Hollywood, at twenty-five, Eve might already be considered over-the-hill."

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, CameronH said:

Then, on top of that, she goes for Bill - the hot director. When that doesn’t work out, she goes for Lloyd - the hot writer. She’s doesn’t want them because she loves them, she wants them for what she can get from them.

Yup, these should be the clear moments where you see that Eve is the villain. The rest can be chalked up to standard career ambition, but actively going after the husband of someone who is supposedly your friend? And doing it twice (thereby proving that it wasn't just some heat of passion thing, it's a deliberate plan)? A decent person doesn't do that.

But I will say that the first time I watched All About Eve I was also totally taken in by Eve's act. It wasn't until very late (when Addison first questions her in the dressing room) that it became obvious to me she was playing everyone for suckers. Watching it back again, it seems pretty obvious from the start. But that's also the strength of the movie! It totally works either way.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
8 hours ago, CameronH said:

Why are people giving Paul crap about not emphasizing that these are “American” films? It’s the AMERICAN Film Institute! It’s literally the name of the organization. It would be like saying, “We are here at the Cheesecake Appreciation Society where we’re going to be discussing the best cakes ever made. And when I say ‘cake,’ I just want to clarify that I specifically mean ‘cheesecake’ and not carrot.”

Please, let’s not give our hosts a hard time over this

I think they're getting this because some of the discussion (in Facebook/Twitter) is about what SHOULD be on the AFI list, and people keep bringing up stuff that's shot down because it's not American. So that upsets some people (that these are the AFI's rules) and gets back to Paul that way. Not really his fault, so I hope he doesn't take it as such.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
6 hours ago, The_Triple_Lindy said:

It's one of those movies that, to me, would feel more at home on the stage. Some of the cinematography feels a bit clunky, like when Addison (?) follows Eve into a room and then talks to her from 50 feet away while she's obscured by the wall of the room she just entered. Maybe that's supposed to be a symbolic shot, but the oddity of the composition was distracting at times.

I dunno, I think that was intentional. They want you to focus on Addison and have Eve hidden during that bit (so you don't immediately know how she's taking it).

Most of the blocking and camera placement seems pretty intentional and considered here to me. I can see an argument that it occasionally feels stagy, but IMO it's the good kind of staginess (where the placement of people within the frame is supposed to communicate meaning), sort of like Citizen Kane.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, sycasey 2.0 said:

I think they're getting this because some of the discussion (in Facebook/Twitter) is about what SHOULD be on the AFI list, and people keep bringing up stuff that's shot down because it's not American. So that upsets some people (that these are the AFI's rules) and gets back to Paul that way. Not really his fault, so I hope he doesn't take it as such.

Oh, okay. I have no idea what’s going on over there in Facebook-Land. I just thought it was odd when he brought it up. Kind of like “I guess I should be clarifying this...” and I really didn’t understand why the onus should be on Paul and Amy. It’s not like they’ve been secretive of where they’re pulling the movies from. I guess some people just like to be spoon fed. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

Circling back to Eve and Phoebe, unlike Amy and Paul, my interpretation of that final scene wasn’t so much that Eve was obvious to Phoebe’s machinations, but rather that she was so alone that she just didn’t care. Eve’s whole journey is about seeking love and adulation. When she sees the way audiences respond to Margo, she sees that as fulfillment. However, if instead of trying to emulate Margo she actually listened to her, she would have realized just how hollow and   unsatisfying that affection is.

What Eve wants is Margo’s fame, what she needs is Margo’s support system.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
9 hours ago, AlmostAGhost said:

Last night I posted on Letterboxd my quick reaction/review to the movie, and my main thought was wondering just how 'evil' Eve is.  Viewing from a more modern lens, I didn't think she was all that bad really, and frankly I kind of rooted for her.  The Camerons thought she was a clear villain, but I wasn't so sure... so I was quite curious and happy to hear that our discussion mirrored Paul & Amy's (Paul, I have your back on this!).  Eve is certainly manipulative and ambitious, but I dunno.  Is that not the acting world?  Curious how other people view the character of Eve. 

But yea, this was a really enjoyable film -- the writing is immediately striking, and the acting across the board was killer.  

 

I think that's another great thing about the writing. Eve is the villain but she's not the mustache twirling type. Rather she is so subtle that there are only hints of it throughout the movie that are only clear on reflection or second viewing. We, like Margo, are not to suspect her of any wrong doings or evilness right away but much like the characters we slowly learn this over the course of the film until it is too late. Take for example her looking at herself in Margo's dress for the play. At first it is an innocent act of a fan wishing to emulate her favourite star, but once we know the full story that moment has a slight darker overtone to it. To me the first major sign that she truly is "evil" or "bad" is when she comes on to Bill. Yes, stealing a lover away does happen but it is more her reaction to it. This is the first time in the movie something doesn't really go her way so what does she do? She goes into a fit of rage and tries to tear the wig apart and smashing things. That to me was a big "Whoa" moment. 

Then in the end when we're confronted with the truth about Eve is to me where the big separation comes in between "wanting to be successful" and just "villain" come in. We learn from her story that she is a liar, manipulator, and con person. She was a small town girl who worked in a beer factory. She wanted to be rich and somebody so she tried to get with the owner of the factory who was married. They had an affair and when the heat was on she stole $500 and fled to New York. To me that paints the picture of who she really is. She might want fame and success but that isn't really what drives her. If she was a mid-western girl who came out to New York and then does this all, I could see her more as just climbing the ladder by any means. However, from that story it is clear she just covets what others have. She wants to better her life by taking those that can give her the best life possible. In her town the owner of the brewery was her ticket, when that didn't work she ran away to New York where she saw Margo's play and thought "That's what I want." 

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post

"The Theater, the Theater! What book of rules says the Theater exists only within some ugly buildings crowded into one square mile of New York City? Or London, Paris or Vienna? Listen, junior. And learn. Want to know what the Theater is? A flea circus. Also opera. Also rodeos, carnivals, ballets, Indian tribal dances, Punch and Judy, a one-man band - all Theater. Wherever there's magic and make-believe and an audience - there's Theater. Donald Duck, Ibsen, and The Lone Ranger, Sarah Bernhardt, Poodles Hanneford, Lunt and Fontanne, Betty Grable, Rex and Wild, and Eleanora Duse. You don't understand them all, you don't like them all, why should you? The Theater's for everybody - you included, but not exclusively - so don't approve or disapprove. It may not be your Theater, but it's Theater for Somebody, somewhere."

Honestly, in light of ShawshankTitanic, and (sure to be soon) Sixth Sense controversies, I'm surprised this monologue wasn't brought up. I absolutely cannot stand snobbery, and Bill just breaks it all down here. I loved it.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
3 hours ago, CameronH said:

Oh, okay. I have no idea what’s going on over there in Facebook-Land. I just thought it was odd when he brought it up. Kind of like “I guess I should be clarifying this...” and I really didn’t understand why the onus should be on Paul and Amy. It’s not like they’ve been secretive of where they’re pulling the movies from. I guess some people just like to be spoon fed. 

Yeah, most of this discussion is perfectly polite (at least on the Facebook group, which got a shout-out on this latest episode), but you know, it only takes a few yahoos to message Paul and complain that the AFI list doesn't have any foreign films.

Share this post


Link to post

Been meaning to join in conversations but the timing is usually off, and I come to any given episode later than most. 

All About Eve has been a movie on my catch-up list, and it was great to have this excuse to raise its priority.  And I'm so glad I did! What a fantastic example of writing and acting. The insights from the podcast were wonderful as well. 

The first line of dialogue with George Sanders had me sitting up at attention, but mostly because I immediately heard Sher Khan, and I could not shake that impression throughout the movie. I have entire scenes of Disney movies burned into my memories. Including the delivery of "What a pity" which I'm sure my parents grew tired of quite quickly as I repeated it as a childhood catchphrase for far too long. 

  

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
18 hours ago, sycasey 2.0 said:

I think they're getting this because some of the discussion (in Facebook/Twitter) is about what SHOULD be on the AFI list, and people keep bringing up stuff that's shot down because it's not American. So that upsets some people (that these are the AFI's rules) and gets back to Paul that way. Not really his fault, so I hope he doesn't take it as such.

Just out of curiosity, is there an International Film Institute? I'd love Top 100 Films of the World list ... it'd be great what shakes out in the rankings if folks like Kurosawa, Eisenstein, Fellini, and Zhang were considered. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, The_Triple_Lindy said:

Just out of curiosity, is there an International Film Institute? I'd love Top 100 Films of the World list ... it'd be great what shakes out in the rankings if folks like Kurosawa, Eisenstein, Fellini, and Zhang were considered. 

Not as such, but as previously mentioned there are other academic groups that do regular polls on this kind of thing. Sight & Sound (which is run by the British Film Institute) would have the most famous one.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sight_%26_Sound_Top_50_Greatest_Films_of_All_Time

If you're feeling particularly ambitious, there's also one from They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?

http://www.theyshootpictures.com/gf1000.htm

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

I'm not sure if this was intentional or not, but I thought it was interesting that the play Margo was called Aged in Wood when, generally speaking, wood tends to get stronger as it ages.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
On 8/9/2018 at 11:47 AM, The_Triple_Lindy said:

The dialogue is biting, witty, and full of puns and double entendre and metaphor. 

My favorite was after the newspaper column comes out, Lloyd mentions to Karen that Eve had stopped by to see him to apologize.  And Karen says "On her knees, no doubt." 

5 hours ago, CameronH said:

I'm not sure if this was intentional or not, but I thought it was interesting that the play Margo was called Aged in Wood when, generally speaking, wood tends to get stronger as it ages.

As wood ages, it gets more lines (i.e. wrinkles) though.  

Ok so did anyone else disappointed that we didn't get to see Birdie at the end?  She sort of disappears.  And where exactly did Birdie come from?  She's slightly older than Margo and they reference her vaudeville act.  At first I thought maybe Margo Eve-d Birdie, but Margo came onto the scene at age 4, so my theory doesn't work.  Anyway, the actress, Thelma Ritter, had a face that I recognized from other movies, but I just couldn't remember - then I looked her up and she was in a bunch of things, like Rear Window.  And turns out she's one of 3 actresses with the most Oscar acting nominations without wins (6 noms, along with Glen Close and Deborah Kerr).

ETA: I think some of these things were mentioned on the podcast already 😬

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, tomspanks said:

Ok so did anyone else disappointed that we didn't get to see Birdie at the end?  She sort of disappears.  And where exactly did Birdie come from?  She's slightly older than Margo and they reference her vaudeville act.  At first I thought maybe Margo Eve-d Birdie, but Margo came onto the scene at age 4, so my theory doesn't work.  Anyway, the actress, Thelma Ritter, had a face that I recognized from other movies, but I just couldn't remember - then I looked her up and she was in a bunch of things, like Rear Window.  And turns out she's one of 3 actresses with the most Oscar acting nominations without wins (6 noms, along with Glen Close and Deborah Kerr).

I assumed Birdie was just an old actress from the vaudevillian days and when her career came to an end she ended up working for Margo who was already a star at that point. A sort of motherly bond between them formed and she stuck around all these years. I don't think she was there at the end because the awards show was probably for only people in the industry and as she was either backstage help or aide to Margo, didn't qualify for an invite.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×