All About Eve (1950)
Bette Davis (return from Witch Mountain, 1978)
Anne Baxter (The Ten Commandments, 1956)
George Sanders (The Jungle Book (voice), 1967)
Marilyn Monroe (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, 1953)
Thelma Ritter (The Misfits, 1961)
I have a list of all the Academy Award winning films I'd like to see. At first I thought to watch them all, as a principle, but the first one is a silent film and I can't deal with that. Plus, it's stupid to sit through a movie I know I won't like just because some snooty academy goombah says it's the best. What do they know anyway? But I wanted to watch All About Eve, and I want to watch Mutiny on the Bounty, too, but later.
The movie is about a aging and jaded actress who takes in a seemingly naive and friendless waif, only to discover that this girl, the title character, has big dreams and will stop at nothing to achieve them. Eve is a very engaging character, as it is difficult to determine when she is acting at what moments she reveals her true colors. Surely, one thinks, nobody can be "on" all of time, right? But Eve's character as the fresh-faced, humble and starstruck girl in over her head in the big city is as much an act as the parts she steals away from her benefactress Margo Channing.
I think there are few scenes where Eve's character is honestly revealed. The first is when she attempts to seduce Margo's beau after her first successful performance as Margo's understudy. When she is thwarted, first we see a few alligator tears but then her rage is palpable. The second is when Addison the columnist declares that he has uncovered Eve's true past and effectively owns her from that point forward. The last is the final scene, where Eve collapses on her own sofa after recieving her Best Actress award and suddenly seems abrasive and jaded, perhaps having finally fully become Margo Channing, ready to be replaced by a newer and brighter young actress.
It's possible that Eve's character is meant to be some sort of sociopath. She is an expert manipulator except for the fact that her powers seem limited in their effect on men. Not only does Eve attempt to seduce Margo's boyfriend Bill (a director), but she attempts to break up Karen's (the playwright's wife) marriage as well, and of course ultimately her manipulative rampage is checked by Addison the columnist, who is determined to ride Eve's train all the way to the top. So maybe this movie has a sinister anti-feminist moral: Trust your man to stand by you, but your girlfriends are always going to screw you over in the end.