We begin at the awards ceremony as we look on with Eve (Anne Baxter) receiving an award for her year of achievement in acting. As this is ongoing we hear the voices, and see the faces, of some soon to become very important key players in the tale of Eve’s year of potential turned kinetic response to how one gets there.
Flashback to the beginning of Eve Harrington’s story, told from the perspective of all these onlookers and how they all played a part in her rise to fame, we meet her in the back alley of a theatre awaiting the chance to meet her idol, Margo (Bette Davis). With that chance being made true she warms herself into this group of artists and manages to become Margo’s assistant of sorts. With a dash of loyalty and a dousing of innocence Eve is the least to be questioned as to her motivations; but slowly a jealous paranoia develops and we’re questioning whether Eve is a temptress or if Margo is a lunatic?
The hardest part about writing in the blindspot is that the films selected have such monumental reputations that I’m almost sure that they’ve been written about so much since their release (some who’ve had more decades that I’m able to pretend I’ve been conscious for) that I feel redundant adding another thousand (and most times less) words to the conversation that does nothing but heap more praise, but it’s true.
All About Eve is a film that works for so many reasons. Between the acting of Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders (playing Mr. DeWitt, the critic) as well as Gary Merrill (as the director who’s in love with Margo) it’s perfect. The film does suffer from that very old tradition of acting where it feels like people are acting at you as opposed to just being in their own world, however, that complaint is one I barely take note of due to the fact that I tend to find the effect so very charming when it ends up feeling like everyone is being as clever as this. With the film being a cat and rat game of trying to figure out who’s the one that’s crazy, Margo or Eve, there’s a wit about the film that keeps that mystery intriguing throughout. You start out saying that it’s impossible, shifting ever so slightly to saying it could be true but never in a billion years to eventually asking for forgiveness for ever questioning this mad lunatic’s readings of what was happening.
Even when the film reaches its climax and we’re given this cyclical nod with Eve in her hotel room after having accepted her award with a very Margo-like demeanor; very somber and slightly disgusted with her reality it should be cliche and annoying but it works. The worst part of it is that we never feel this as a sign of Eve becoming saddened by the results of her efforts, we see her as accomplished and successful. Not just critically and financially but also personally. She set her sights on a goal, made it, and doesn’t seem to have a lick of regret for it. However, with the same con being played on her (it would seem) now we can do no more than laugh, giggle or even just say ‘hah’ as we hope Eve becomes prey to her own ambition directed back at her.