Saturday, August 4, 2012

Capsule Review: All About Eve (1950)

All About Eve has such wonderful dialogue and performances that it's easy to forget just how bitter and cynical it is. A slick commentary on our culture's obsession with youth, particularly in the entertainment industry, it features a tour-de-force performance by Bette Davis as the aging actress Margo Channing. Davis is in full-on queen bitch mode, while somehow still remaining the heart and soul of the piece, spitting out the exquisitely crafted Joseph L. Mankiewicz dialogue with equal parts enthusiasm and vitriol. But it's not just David in fine form, as the supporting performances are universally excellent - with the ensemble receiving five acting Oscar nominations alone, and the production as a whole getting an (at the time) record 14 noms. The plot; about an obsessed young fan surreptitiously infiltrating - and  imitating - the life of a famous theatrical star, remains ferociously entertaining until the end. A true Hollywood triumph.

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