All About Eve

dir. Joseph L. Mankiewicz

TIFF Cinematheque - Hollywood Classics

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The bitchery is exquisite, the invective divine in Joseph L. Mankiewicz's classic, Academy Award-winning tale of backstage ambition and deceit.
Buckle up — we may have to equip the cinema chairs with seat belts for this famously "bumpy night." The bitchery is exquisite, the invective divine in Mankiewicz's backstage tale of deceit and ambition, which took home six Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Bette Davis plays Margo Channing, Broadway star uneasily coasting towards middle age in a business that prizes youth. She meets her nemesis in Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter), whose devotion to Margo masks her gimlet-eyed ambition. Among those who participate in Eve's ascent are acerbic George Sanders (who puts both adder and wit into his role as critic Addison DeWitt), tart-tongued Thelma Ritter, and glamorous Celeste Holm as the unwitting agent of Eve's expedience. Swathed in cigarette smoke and insecurity, Davis rules supreme as the marvellous Margo, and Baxter defines sang-froid as the backstabbing Eve. (We all know an Eve Harrington. Some of us know several.) "May be the most biting example of hard-boiled wit ever to come out of Hollywood, and it is breathlessly performed at a breakneck pace by a cast that attacks their lines like starved carnivores at a barbecue" (James Monaco).