Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The 100 Best Movies: #72

72. All About Eve (1950)

One type of movie I love, if you couldn't tell by some of the films on this list, is the ensemble piece. Sure, I love a movie that has a verifiable star (maybe even two!), but the stronger the entire ensemble is, the stronger the film is. This movie is one of the best examples. Written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, based on a story by Mary Orr, it tells the tale of actress Eve Harrington and how she became the toast of Broadway. The story is told through the perspectives of the other characters: critic Addison DeWitt, writer's wife Karen Richards and rival actress Margo Channing each serve as narrators. I won't spoil the story for those who have not seen it, but suffice it to say, the narrators do not have the most positive opinion of our titular lady. The script is both dramatic and comedic and it does not pull punches. The ensemble cast is first rate. Anne Baxter is the devious Eve, George Sanders as the pompous Addison, Celeste Holm as the sweet Karen and it also features Thelma Ritter, Gary Merrill and (in a brief part) Marilyn Monroe. But the film is most likely (and should be) remembered for the tour-de-force performance that Bette Davis gives as Margo Channing. She becomes the character so much that you see both the power and the insecurities the woman has. My favorite scene is her speech in the car about what it takes to be a woman. Bette Davis doesn't only play Margo Channing, Bette Davis IS Margo Channing! It is an amazing film that won several Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director.

Next Post: #71

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