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All About Eve

All About Eve  

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  1. 1. Does "All About Eve" belong on the AFI List?

    • Yes
      11
    • No
      1

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  • Poll closed on 03/01/19 at 08:00 AM

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16 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.

On my third viewing of this, I find everything in every shot is intentional. On Margo's way into the theater to read for the audition, a sign on the street for one of the other shows is "The Devil's Disciple." 

On whether Margo is just as conniving as Eve, it seems to me that theater was her life, her family, and that she wasn't with Bill as a power grab.  The familial nature of their relationships, in my opinion, is why Karen can put up with Margo's tantrums and ego. 

ETA: It bummed me out that Margo was instantly ready to give up the spotlight as soon as she could be a "woman" after marrying Bill.  

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Putting this in spoilers because it's kind of a silly topic.

In the scene with Karen and Lloyd after the newspaper column gets printed, Lloyd receives a call from Margo.  She invites them to the Cub Room and Karen sort of says in disbelief "Margo in the Cub Room. I couldn't be more surprised if she'd said Grant's Tomb."  But why?  Apparently the Cub Room was the VIP room at the most exclusive/prestigious club in Manhattan, The Stork Club.  If Margo was a well known theater actress, why would anyone be surprised to find her there?  I mean, check out the list of the famous people who frequented the club.

Anyway, at the Cub Room, I was struck by the the scene where Margo bites into a stalk of celery.  

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Are you telling me that in this swanky VIP room of the most exclusive club in the city, you're given raw celery to eat as an appetizer?  Then I remembered a similar scene another movie I recently watched, Easter Parade (1948).  In a scene taking place at a fancy looking restaurant, the diners start out their lunch with, what else, raw celery stalks.

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Is there a less appetizing dish than raw celery stalks?  No. No there isn't.  Turns out I'm not the only one flummoxed by people voluntarily eating raw celery stalks at nice restaurants.  Here's an awesome blog about food and charts.  The blogger also noticed the popularity of celery in restaurants - as seen by the frequency of its appearance on menus.  He charted the data and found that:

Quote

The golden age of celery on¬†restaurant menus was from around 1900 to 1949, where around 20-40% of menus had an item called ‚Äúcelery.‚ÄĚ Once the 1950s arrived, however, there was a was dramatic and complete drop:¬†celery makes only 29 appearances after 1949¬†on the 2,226 analyzed menus.

  It's like people suddenly grew taste buds after 1950s and realized celery was horrendous.  That's my explanation.

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8 hours ago, WatchOutForSnakes said:

ETA: It bummed me out that Margo was instantly ready to give up the spotlight as soon as she could be a "woman" after marrying Bill.  

I get that, but the way I took it was less "giving up the spotlight" and more accepting that fame is fleeting. She realizes that her star is fading, but rather than obsess and drive herself crazy about trying to maintain something she has no control over, she decides to look forward to a new era in her life. It doesn't mean she's giving up on theater altogether, just that it's not going to be her sole focus anymore. 

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On 8/9/2018 at 7:31 PM, CameronH said:

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

Totally agree.  I actually felt a bit bad for Eve at the award ceremony at the end when only one woman who didn't hate her stopped by to congratulate her.  This is a major award and people should be fawning all over her, but people at the award ceremony just file out, more focused on the after-party.  

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I haven't listened to the episode yet but I LOVED THIS MOVIE!!!!!

Holy fuck what a good one!!!

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So, I was re-listening to the episode with my wife today. The first thing that struck me was the way Paul and Amy were talking about the characters -- "What's the motivation for the character? Why don't they do this instead? What do you think their relationships are all about?" The second thing that struck me is the way that my wife and I then started having a similar conversations about the movie and the characters. And then, of course, the same thing is happening here on this board.

I think that this, perhaps above all, is why the movie (as well as some of the others on this list) is so good ... we're only with these characters for roughly two hours, and yet this movie is so textually rich that viewers can deep-dive on it without even realizing it. This movie makes it so superbly easy to treat and talk about its characters like they are real people that we know. It's a total character study. Movies like Platoon, King Kong, and Titanic have other things happening, but All About Eve was just ... well, all about Eve, and Margo and Addison, et al, and how Eve's arrival upsets the balance between all of these people. 

The writing is so deep, the characters are so realized, and the acting is so good that talking about this movie feels like gossiping about friends. 

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On 8/10/2018 at 3:08 PM, sycasey 2.0 said:

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

I'll take "Things I Could've Googled Myself" for $400. Thanks, sycasey. 

Seems like a bunch of sites and orgs have their own lists. I just wanted one cadre of prestigious nerds to give me the definitive ranking.

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23 hours ago, CameronH said:

I get that, but the way I took it was less "giving up the spotlight" and more accepting that fame is fleeting. She realizes that her star is fading, but rather than obsess and drive herself crazy about trying to maintain something she has no control over, she decides to look forward to a new era in her life. It doesn't mean she's giving up on theater altogether, just that it's not going to be her sole focus anymore. 

Good point. Perhaps its more accurate to say I'm bummed that it seemed that marriage was tipping point in her character arc.

On the other hand, I could write a  novel about the feels I have about Margo and Bill's relationship. It feels really genuine to me in a way that movies of that era usually don't. Maybe it's the chemistry they had on screen, but also the script. She says that Bill is in love with "Margo" the actress, not Margo the person, but she's wrong. He sees her for who she really is, like when he tells her that he loves her because of some of her traits and in spite of others because they're "her tools" for navigating the cut-throat stage world. He's notably younger than her, but he's not a plaything to her. The really respect each other. They fight a lot, but they communicate. They're honest. I love that about the two of them. For all of the acting and performances and airs that people put on both on the stage and off, they seem most genuine with each other. I'm just in love with the two of them in love with each other. 

And relevant to nothing, I also loved the whole "incomplete forward pass" line. Great turn of phrase. 

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19 hours ago, WatchOutForSnakes said:

Good point. Perhaps its more accurate to say I'm bummed that it seemed that marriage was tipping point in her character arc.

On the other hand, I could write a  novel about the feels I have about Margo and Bill's relationship. It feels really genuine to me in a way that movies of that era usually don't. Maybe it's the chemistry they had on screen, but also the script. She says that Bill is in love with "Margo" the actress, not Margo the person, but she's wrong. He sees her for who she really is, like when he tells her that he loves her because of some of her traits and in spite of others because they're "her tools" for navigating the cut-throat stage world. He's notably younger than her, but he's not a plaything to her. The really respect each other. They fight a lot, but they communicate. They're honest. I love that about the two of them. For all of the acting and performances and airs that people put on both on the stage and off, they seem most genuine with each other. I'm just in love with the two of them in love with each other. 

And relevant to nothing, I also loved the whole "incomplete forward pass" line. Great turn of phrase. 

I totally agree about the chemistry between Margo and Bill - it's not a huge surprise that the actors themselves fell in love on set and got married - but did anyone really think that Margo and Bill were gonna live "happily ever after"?  

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19 hours ago, WatchOutForSnakes said:

Good point. Perhaps its more accurate to say I'm bummed that it seemed that marriage was tipping point in her character arc.

For me, I took it that she herself had been refusing to marry Bill for much longer than any of us probably saw on screen because maybe in those days married women were automatically cut out of certain roles that Margo still wanted to play, plus add in the fact that she was hung up on their age difference it sounds like she really needed to work on a lot of things internally before she could get married. Once she had accepted that she was probably too old to play a 20 year old character, and Bill was never going to leave her, then she felt comfortable enough in her own skin to stand by him as husband and wife. I totally understand what you mean though because that is something that tires me out in sooo many movies (a group of us just watched The Back-Up Plan for a HDTGM archive special and the whole story hinges on JLo realizing she does in fact need a man.... gross), but Margo's character is so much deeper than that.

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5 minutes ago, tomspanks said:

I totally agree about the chemistry between Margo and Bill - it's not a huge surprise that the actors themselves fell in love on set and got married - but did anyone really think that Margo and Bill were gonna live "happily ever after"?  

At that point I did, yeah. Margo was more confident about herself for the first time that whole movie, and I think that probably changed a lot in their relationship. Going through that shit with Eve was probably their hardest hurdle to jump, but they did it and I think they'll be able to survive anything.

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10 minutes ago, taylorannephoto said:

At that point I did, yeah. Margo was more confident about herself for the first time that whole movie, and I think that probably changed a lot in their relationship. Going through that shit with Eve was probably their hardest hurdle to jump, but they did it and I think they'll be able to survive anything.

I mean in the long run.

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Just now, tomspanks said:

I mean in the long run.

I know, but I still say yes. They sound like two people who fought and stayed together anyway, and like I said I think that the Eve business was probably their worst fight. If they can get back together after that then I think they're golden.

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Another thing - do you think Karen ever came clean to Margo about the car?  On one hand, they're best friends and I'd imagine keeping a big secret like this would be a burden on Karen, but on the other hand, if Margo ever found out, I don't think she would forgive Karen - or at least it would take a long time before Margo came around.  

And I can't post a ss of this scene, but in the scene where Karen was painting, did anyone else catch that she was doing a still life of a bowl of bananas and a big fat eggplant.  That made me chuckle.  

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25 minutes ago, tomspanks said:

Another thing - do you think Karen ever came clean to Margo about the car?  On one hand, they're best friends and I'd imagine keeping a big secret like this would be a burden on Karen, but on the other hand, if Margo ever found out, I don't think she would forgive Karen - or at least it would take a long time before Margo came around.  

And I can't post a ss of this scene, but in the scene where Karen was painting, did anyone else catch that she was doing a still life of a bowl of bananas and a big fat eggplant.  That made me chuckle.  

YES! That's why I thought Eve's blackmail plan was a little half baked at first because I was sure that if Karen came clean to Margo about it all she would forgive her. Margo at that point seems to be the kind of person that would hold a grudge no matter the intention. But in the restaurant she does seem changed as a person, a little more open and forgiving as she's worked through her demons. I think this change in attitude combined with her deep love for Karen would make forgiveness a little easier on her part. 

I am more wondering why Karen would stick by her Lloyd after everything. I mean he put her through the ringer, and while it might be easy to chalk things up to "oh Eve was manipulating him" considering he was going to run away with her and they were having some sort of affair, Karen sticking by him and Margo and Bill sticking by him is more questionable to me. I guess if they can forgive Lloyd then Margo can forgive Karen.

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23 minutes ago, tomspanks said:

 And I can't post a ss of this scene, but in the scene where Karen was painting, did anyone else catch that she was doing a still life of a bowl of bananas and a big fat eggplant.  That made me chuckle.  

ypnlkiy.jpg

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11 minutes ago, Cam Bert said:

ypnlkiy.jpg

Look how fat that eggplant is!¬†¬†ūüėć

21 minutes ago, Cam Bert said:

I am more wondering why Karen would stick by her Lloyd after everything. I mean he put her through the ringer, and while it might be easy to chalk things up to "oh Eve was manipulating him" considering he was going to run away with her and they were having some sort of affair, Karen sticking by him and Margo and Bill sticking by him is more questionable to me. I guess if they can forgive Lloyd then Margo can forgive Karen.

Interesting.  I thought Eve made up the story (or at least heavily embellished) the Lloyd affair.  I thought she "spilled her beans" to Addison, thinking he would publish it in his column and really breakup Lloyd and Karen's marriage.  

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11 minutes ago, tomspanks said:

Look how fat that eggplant is!¬†¬†ūüėć

Interesting.  I thought Eve made up the story (or at least heavily embellished) the Lloyd affair.  I thought she "spilled her beans" to Addison, thinking he would publish it in his column and really breakup Lloyd and Karen's marriage.  

Ah, that could be. I thought she was getting her hooks into him because of how Bill and Lloyd were fighting during the rehearsals. Bill, who knows about her attempt to come on to him and what she was doing to Margo, reluctantly accepts the directing position. His contempt can not be fully contained so he is extremely harsh with Eve during production, yet Lloyd was seemingly fighting for her choices. To me that was the sign that she was working her magic on him. Granted you could argue that he was just passionate about his play and trying to get it the best it could be and didn't want Bill's feelings for Eve to get in the way. That said the way he talked about what a spirit Eve brought to the part and comments to effect combined with Karen's observation that she'd never seen Bill and Lloyd fight so much before. This to me implied that he was somewhat bewitched. How far down that road I'm not sure, but he was on it for sure even if for a short while.

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Just now, Cam Bert said:

Ah, that could be. I thought she was getting her hooks into him because of how Bill and Lloyd were fighting during the rehearsals. Bill, who knows about her attempt to come on to him and what she was doing to Margo, reluctantly accepts the directing position. His contempt can not be fully contained so he is extremely harsh with Eve during production, yet Lloyd was seemingly fighting for her choices. To me that was the sign that she was working her magic on him. Granted you could argue that he was just passionate about his play and trying to get it the best it could be and didn't want Bill's feelings for Eve to get in the way. That said the way he talked about what a spirit Eve brought to the part and comments to effect combined with Karen's observation that she'd never seen Bill and Lloyd fight so much before. This to me implied that he was somewhat bewitched. How far down that road I'm not sure, but he was on it for sure even if for a short while.

Yes, I totally agree he was at the least "bewitched" lol.  It definitely showed when Lloyd ran up to New Haven in the middle of the night to help calm her down.  

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On 8/10/2018 at 12:08 PM, sycasey 2.0 said:

 

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

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

This link is amazing!  I'm definitely going to dig in on this thing.  I'll have to watch more How Did This Get Made movies than I do, just so I'm not only watching the best movies ever. :)

Also, I think everyone is giving Margo so much benefit of any doubt as to explaining her motives in a 'good' or 'normal' way, when they're not giving Eve any at all.¬†¬†ūü§®

 

 

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13 minutes ago, tomspanks said:

Yes, I totally agree he was at the least "bewitched" lol.  It definitely showed when Lloyd ran up to New Haven in the middle of the night to help calm her down.  

Two thoughts I had about that phone call.

1. After he says he'll be right over Karen gives him a look. Now it could be just "Why are you rushing off like that" but for a second I had the thought "Why does he know where she lives." I guess both readings would be accurate.

2. Her false claims about not feeling well. Again, maybe reading into the affair angle a bit much, but is it suppose to subtly imply she might be pregnant? I guess pregnancy would be more morning sickness not middle of the night, but her not feeling well doesn't seem to be that hasty of a reason to rush right over. Proudly just over thinking it all.

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5 minutes ago, AlmostAGhost said:

Also, I think everyone is giving Margo so much benefit of any doubt as to explaining her motives in a 'good' or 'normal' way, when they're not giving Eve any at all.¬†¬†ūü§®

 

 

I'm curious, as someone who is more on the Eve side of things, not that there is anything wrong with that, at what point do you think Eve came up with her plan to be the new Margo? Was it before they met? After she started working for her and got to know her more?

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Oh I was reading some reviews from 'big' critics, like Ebert and Kael and whoever.  Thought people might enjoy them; they have some similar ideas - mainly that Anne Baxter isn't nearly good enough to be a threat to Bette Davis, which personally I was surprised by, but found interesting.  (Amy mentioned something similar.) 

Kael:

Ersatz art of a very high grade, and one of the most enjoyable movies ever made. A young aspiring actress, Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter), intrigues to take the place of an aging star, Margo Channing (Bette Davis), on stage and in bed, and the battle is fought with tooth, claw, and a battery of epigrams. The synthetic has qualities of its own-glib, overexplicit, self-important, the "You're sneaky and corrupt but so am I-We belong to each other darling" style of writing. The scriptwriter-director Joseph L. Mankiewicz's bad taste, exhibited with verve, is more fun than careful, mousy, dehydrated good taste. His nonsense about "theatre" is saved by one performance that is the real thing: Bette Davis is at her most instinctive and assured. Her actress-vain, scared, a woman who goes too far in her reactions and emotions-makes the whole thing come alive (though it's hard to believe Anne Baxter could ever be a threat to Bette Davis).

excerpt of Ebert: (here)

The movie's strength and weakness is Anne Baxter, whose Eve lacks the presence to be a plausible rival to Margo, but is convincing as the scheming fan. When Eve understudies for Margo and gets great reviews, Mankiewicz wisely never shows us her performance; better to imagine it, and focus on the girl whose look is a little too intense, whose eyes a little too focused, whose modesty is somehow suspect.

 

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10 minutes ago, Cam Bert said:

2. Her false claims about not feeling well. Again, maybe reading into the affair angle a bit much, but is it suppose to subtly imply she might be pregnant? I guess pregnancy would be more morning sickness not middle of the night, but her not feeling well doesn't seem to be that hasty of a reason to rush right over. Proudly just over thinking it all.

LOL, is it because you recently watched The Back-up Plan?

 

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5 minutes ago, Cam Bert said:

I'm curious, as someone who is more on the Eve side of things, not that there is anything wrong with that, at what point do you think Eve came up with her plan to be the new Margo? Was it before they met? After she started working for her and got to know her more?

Hmm I think it is sort of in between. I can't remember if this was true, or ever expressed, but I assumed she was an actress at the very least before they met. 

So I took it as, in the beginning, Eve wanting to be a famous actress, be around actors, etc., in general; but then as she ended up in this place right next to Margo, taking over for her was the way she saw to become one/famous/rewrite her life.

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