Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Great Movies: "All About Eve"

At the Movies with Michael5000

Curious about "The Great Movies" concept? Look here.


All About Eve
Joseph Mankiewicz (1950)

Frankly, All About Eve seems more of a good movie than a great movie. I say this with fear in my heart, though. All About Eve is famous (among old movie people) for its crackling wit and its devastating sly humor. I have seen it described as "the smartest movie ever made." This raises a question of terrifying implications: What if I missed the best jokes? What if this movie is too smart for a lummox like me to fully appreciate?

Well, it's certainly possible. Roger Ebert is a lot smarter, and knows a hell of a lot more about movies, than me. But it's my blog. Me, I admired the assured skills of a primo cast who seem to be enjoying their work. They got off some great lines. The ending, as well as the entire premise, effectively combined that particular American dream of a young person seeking celebrity with a mild horror-movie creepiness. And if the film all but offers up its own feminist critique, I'm disinclined to scold a 60 year old movie for social backwardness. Basically, you've got a very solid film here. One of The Good Movies.

Plot: A Broadway star befriends a wide-eyed girl from the country, who then embarks on a cold-blooded attempt to commandeer her life. Hijinks ensue. People say lots of witty things and, as in real life, are very funny when they are drunk.

Dialogue: Sparkling, in that mannered way of actors from the black-and-white era, when everyone sounded like they just got back from three years in England and were feeling frightfully earnest.

Visuals: There are a few exceptionally well-composed scenes. The two that involve young women trying on their idols' dresses are particularly memorable; the dresses all but become characters for the length of the scene.

Prognosis: Recommended for people who like old movies, are into "the Theater," or who think Bette Davis is awesome. She really is something, in this movie.


Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Michael5000 is my home-boy for a few reasons:

1. He knows Chuckdaddy's wife, so he must be buddies with Chuckdaddy, unless he's sleeping with Chuckdaddy's wife behind Chuckdaddy's back, in which case I don't like Michael 5000.

2. He posted a picture of a Guided By Voices album in his last post.

3. He left the funniest comment I've seen in a while on my blog just moments ago.

Michael5000 said...

@Dr. Ken: Michael5000 actually introduced Mrs. ChuckDaddy to ChuckDaddy, at a party held specifically for that purpose. Best idea I ever had.

Glad you liked the comment. I was pretty pleased with myself too.

Laura said...

I've seen All About Eve! This is the first of the "Great Movies" that I actually know. Awesome.

Glad you're feeling better.

Rex Parker said...

I love "AAE." Very rewatchable.

In other movie news: I saw "Enchanted" yesterday with Sandy and our daughter. With the exception of the last ten stupid, unnecessary, super CGI'd minutes, it's possibly the best "family" film I've seen this century - in that the whole "family" might actually enjoy it. I laughed out loud a lot. It stars Amy Adams, whom I know best as Jim's ex-girlfriend from Season 2 of the "The Office." She's stunning.


PS I can't believe I just used "All About Eve," one of the Greatest films of all time, as an occasion for plugging a current Disney film ... but there it is.

PPS "Best" trailer I saw was for "College Road Trip" - I don't want to give anything away - you have to see it for yourself. Preview: it stars Martin Lawrence, and in the trailer alone there are at least two scenes of people getting tasered.

Anonymous said...

The dialogue description is so dead on.

I enjoyed the movie but good is more accurate than great imo too. But it's been a long time since I saw it.

I do remember how I was surprised that the evilness was done so well and not too cartoonish compared to others I was watching at the time.

I look forward to reading about more greats. It does make me want to rewatch.