Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Margo's breakfast tray ...

Looking at a re-run of ALL ABOUT EVE once again I am fascinated by Margo's breakfast tray, as delivered by her friend and companion/maid Birdie.  Her glass of orange juice is in a bowl of ice! - was this common practice then? Her breakfast seems to comprise of coffee and cigarettes - as well as the ice cold  juice. We do not see her drinking it but if you look at the scene again it is suddenly drank in between shots. 

Bette and Themla Ritter have great interplay here and of course in the dressing-room scene when Eve first appears, and in the great party scene ... Mankiewicz later regretted that we saw no more of Birdie (who sees through Eve's duplicity right away) once the story moved away from Margo's duplex ... Bette effortlessly dominates the first half of the film but really the roles of Margo, Eve and Karen (Celeste Holm) are more or less equal [like the 3 women in his previous A LETTER TO 3 WIVES in 1949] - Margo is rather sidelined in the second half as Eve, Karen and Addison De Witt (George Sanders) take centre stage; it would have been the icing on the cake to have seen more of Birdie too.
Bette is so incisive as Margo that it hard to believe she was a last-minute replacement for Claudette Colbert, who injured her back. It was Davis's best role in years then (and led to her marriage to Gary Merrill) ... Baxter's Eve would have looked rather like Colbert so that would have worked well too.   
(It was also wonderful seeing Bette at the London National Film Theatre in 1972 (40 years ago!) - as per report at Bette label - where she made a stunning entrance which brought the house down walking to the stage from the back of the house with a fur coat over her shoulder trailing behind her, as of course Mankiewicz stated that Margo was the kind of woman who treated her mink like a poncho, as Bette shrewdly demonstrated ....). 
PS: I have since been advised that orange juice then would have been freshly squeezed from real oranges and then the glass put in the ice to chill it - as they probably didn't have supermarket chilled cabinets full of cartons of juice circa 1950. ....

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