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.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

All About Eve, once again

"Just because a man knows all the lines in ALL ABOUT EVE ....."
Lots of Oscar winners are on view again, so nice to return to Joseph Mankiewicz's 1950 double award winner (script and direction, among its six wins out of 11 nominations). It s not actually very cinematic at all as the camera just sits and records all that marvellous dialogue played by a cast at the top of their game, and one newcomer obviously going places , with those brilliant dressing room and party scenes. More on Mank and the others at labels. and I have just ordered that book I somehow didn't get around to: "All About All About Eve"!
The quotes alone are stupendous, IMDb only has 88 of them listed - and we won't include Margo's comment about seat belts !

Anne Baxter (after that comedy western A TICKET TO TOMAHAWK forgotten now apart from that Marilyn was in it too) and George Sanders (after another biblical, the enjoyable SAMSON & DELILAH) must have relished gettng their teeth into dialogue like this (while Bette had one of her most iconic roles after her years at Warners). 
Addison: Ah, Eve.
Eve: Good evening, Mr. DeWitt.
Margo: I'd no idea you two knew each other.
Addison: This must be at long last our formal introduction. Until now we've only met in passing.
Miss Caswell: That's how you met me... in passing.
Addison: What do you take me for?
Eve: I don't know that I take you for anything.
Addison: Is it possible, even conceivable, that you've confused me with that gang of backward children you play tricks on, that you have the same contempt for me as you have for them?
Eve: I'm sure you mean something by that, Addison, but I don't know what.
Addison: Look closely, Eve. It's time you did. I am Addison DeWitt. I am nobody's fool, least of all yours.
Eve:I never intended you to be.
Addison:Yes you did, and you still do.
Eve: I still don't know what you're getting at, but right now I want to take my nap. It's important...
Addison: It's important right now that we talk, killer to killer.
Eve: Champion to champion.
Addison: Not with me, you're no champion. You're stepping way up in class.
Eve: Addison, will you please say what you have to say, plainly and distinctly, and then get out, so I can take my nap?
Addison:Very well - plainly and distinctly - though I consider it unnecessary because you know as well as I do what I'm going to say: Lloyd may leave Karen, but he will not leave Karen for you.
Eve: What do you mean by that?
Addison:: More plainly and more distinctly: I have not come to New Haven to see the play, discuss your dreams, or pull the ivy from the walls of Yale. I have come here to tell you that you will not marry Lloyd, or anyone else for that matter, because I will not permit it.
Eve:What have you got to do with it?
Addison: Everything, because after tonight, you will belong to me.
Eve: Belong? To you? I can't believe my ears!
Addison: What a dull cliché.
Eve: Belong to you - why, that sounds medieval, something out of an old melodrama!
Addison: So does the history of the world for the past twenty years. I don't enjoy putting it as bluntly as this. Frankly, I'd hoped that somehow you would have known, that you would have taken it for granted that you and I...
Eve:: Taken it for granted that you and I...[laughs]
Addison: [slaps her] Now, remember, as long as you live, never to laugh at me - at anything or anyone else, but never at me.
Eve: [walks to the door and opens it] Get out!
Addison:You're too short for that gesture. Besides, it went out with Mrs. Fiske.
Addison: That I should want you at all suddenly strikes me as the height of improbability. But that in itself is probably the reason: You're an improbable person, Eve, and so am I. We have that in common. Also our contempt for humanity and inability to love and be loved, insatiable ambition, and talent. We deserve each other.

Margo: And this is my dear friend and companion, Miss Bridie Coonan.
Birdie: Oh brother.

Birdie: What a story! Everything but the bloodhounds snappin' at her rear end.

Birdie: Voila!
Margo: That French ventriloquist taught you a lot, didn't he?
Birdie: There was nothing he did not know.

Margo: Write me one about a nice normal woman who just shoots her husband.

Margo: I'll admit I may have seen better days, but I'm still not to be had for the price of a cocktail, like a salted peanut.

Margo: I detest cheap sentiment.

Lloyd Richards: The atmosphere is very MacBeth-ish... what has, or is about to, happen?

Margo: Remind me to tell you about the time I looked into the heart of an artichoke.
Eve: I'd like to hear it.
Margo: Some snowy night, in front of the fire.

Margo: Thank you, Eve. I'd like a martini, very dry.
Bill: I'll get it.
Bill [to Eve]: What'll you have?
Margo: A milkshake?
Eve: A martini, very dry, please.

Margo: She's a girl of so many interests.
Bill: It's a pretty rare quality these days.
Margo: She's a girl of so many rare qualities.
Bill: So she seems.
Margo: So you've pointed out, so often. So many qualities, so often. Her loyalty, efficiency, devotion, warmth, affection - and so young. So young and so fair...

Karen: I'm sorry, Margo.
Margo: What for? It isn't as though you personally drained the gas tank yourself.

There's tons more of course, but otherwise we would be quoting the whole movie! 
ALL ABOUT EVE remains a magnificent comedy drama with all that bitchy theatre talk, providing three great roles with about equal screen time: the curdled cocktail that is Margo, duplicitious Eve and decent Karen - and wisecracking Birdie too (though we don't see her once the action moves away from Margo's duplex - Mankiewicz later regretted that). Mankiewicz scored too the previous year with his A LETTER TO THREE WIVES (with another three great female roles, plus Thelma again), which we like just as much here - see Mank label - and he also did NO WAY OUT that year. He and Billy Wilder certainly wrote the best dialogue (Wilder with his collaborators Charles Brackett and I.A.L. Diamond - but thats another story.) as Billy's SOME LIKE IT HOT ties with EVE for the best script ever, with SUNSET BOULEVARD and DOUBLE INDEMNITY hot on their heels. I loved ONE, TWO, THREE as well and KISS ME STUPID was certainly a lot of fun! 


  1. I've read All About All About Eve and loved it, think you will too. Anyone with an interest in the film will find many tidbits.

    A very appropriate post what with the passing of Lizabeth Scott recently. One rumor was that she was the inspiration for Eve from her time understudying Tallulah Bankhead in The Skin of Our Teeth.

  2. It must have been a fun shoot. Davis was washed up at Warners by the end of the 40s and the this plum fell into her lap, as Claudette Colbert hurt her back and had to withdraw (I can't quite picture her as Margo, Baxter had a passing resemblance to her which would have worked though). Bette and boozehound Merrill hit it off (and married thereafter for a tempestuous decade or so) and it seems they formed their own clique on set, annoying Celeste who had a feud with Davis who it seemed objected to Celeste's good manners - but I dare say it will all be in the book, which I will have before too long. It only provided a temporary fillip for Davis though, who was soon back in silly melodramas as the 50s progressed.

    Baxter had a lot more successes, we particularly relish her camp Nefertiti in Cecil's The Ten Commandents; George continuned his run of costume dramas and programmers, great with the Merman and singing in CALL ME MADAM, while Marilyn had erupted into stardom by then ...

  3. Bette certainly suggests Tallulah here, to Bankhead's fury.

  4. Michael, the above quotes really does prove you are one of the boys in the band! :)

  5. Best-written movie of all time!! Joseph Mankiewicz's bitchy-witty script is brilliant; hard to believe this film was helmed by a heterosexual man...

    I also think you'll enjoy the book...Bette really was a snob and a bitch to Celeste...which is really saying something. Ms. Holm could also put on airs and be quite the grande dame herself. "Don't act as if I were the Queen Mother..."

  6. Ironically in their later years, Anne replaced Bette again in that 80s tv series HOTEL, I caught a few episodes at the time. By then of course EVE had become the Broadway musical APPLAUSE, with Bacall - and also Baxter - playing Margo. I hated the 1973 London production as per my review on that, Bacall label!.Probably the worst version of a movie ever staged.

  7. You are so right angelman66 - and his previous one A LETTER TO THREE WIVES is justas good, if not better - see my post on that, Mank label- he capture that late 40s vibe perfect, its another brilliant script full of marvellous dialogue I love the whole Lora Mae and Porter Hollingsway story (Linda Darnell & Paul Douglas) and the great long dinner sequence when Florence Bates comes to dinner with Ann Sothern and Kirk Douglas - and Thelma is the wisecracking maid! Mank got best director and screenwriter Oscar both years: 1949 and 1950. What a career peak, and he kept on going - I like his work on CLEOPATRA and THE HONEYPOT too.