ALL ABOUT EVE
MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
The classic film about catty Hollywood hits Blu-ray for the first time. Bette Davis plays Margo Channing, and aging Broadway star who takes a young ingenue named Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter) under her wing. However, it soon becomes clear that Eve has ulterior motives and is using her new connections with Margo to edge her way into the Broadway scene.
WHAT I LIKED
One of my favorite things about writing Blu-ray, DVD and movie reviews is that it gives me a chance to see classic films that I have missed and otherwise would miss on an ongoing basis. “All About Eve” is one such film, which I should have seen years ago but never got around to. Now, checking it out on Blu-ray for the first time makes me realize why it was such a hit so many years ago.
Hollywood loves stories about itself, and while this film is set on the Broadway stage, the parallels to the Hollywood life is undeniable. It’s a bitch fest that was quite in-your-face for 1950. Were it made today, it’d be too over-the-top, but the relatively restricted era in which it was made allowed it to go for subtlety and the surprise you with some pretty bawdy backstory moments.
“All About Eve” is deliciously fun to watch with characters playing versions of themselves (most noticeably Bette Davis) and being quite introspective for its day. It doesn’t quite erupt into craziness, which you’d expect from a contemporary film, but it twists the drama tight and allows the viewer to see that the lives of the rich and famous don’t always have happy endings.
And speaking of endings, not to drop any spoilers for people like me who haven’t seen this yet, but it offers an appropriately cynical look at the entertainment industry to the very bitter end.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
The only thing that really didn’t quite sit right with me was how “All About Eve” still managed to convince itself that it was a result of Hollywood glamour. Such was the media of the time, of course. Even when Hollywood was poking fun at itself and being self-critical, it still acknowledged that its elite was better than most people.
Sigh… if only Ricky Gervais could have waxed poetic on this film in 1950.
This newly released Blu-ray book has a great assortment of special features, which is excellent for a film like this, considering the story behind the story is possibly more entertaining than the film itself.
Basic features include an audio commentary by actor Celeste Holm, Joseph Mankiewicz biographer Ken Geist and Christopher Mankiewicz. A second commentary features author Sam Staggs. There’s also an isolated score track for fans of the musical side of cinema.
There’s plenty of retrospectives of people involved in the film, including two spotlights on Joseph Mankiewicz, a look at Bette Davis and Anne Baxter vintage promos and four clips from Fox Movietone News. Additional features include “The Secret of Sarah Siddons” and “AMC Backstory,” as well as the theatrical trailer and a 24-page collectible booklet in the Blu-ray packaging.
Of course, the most intriguing feature is “The Real Eve,” which examines the origin of the original story and shows the catty nature of the original women involved.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
People who want a peek into the smarmy world of old Hollywood.