The introduction of reality TV and the likes of Youtube, Tiktok and Instagram have opened up possibilities for people around the world. Today, anyone with aspirations of celebrity has a shot of their 15 minutes of fame. Whilst it’s difficult to get into television or film (it’s easier than it used to be) back in the day Broadway was the ultimate prize for many. Young starlets would travel to New York from across the US hoping for a chance to become a star of the stage. All about Eve delves into the murky world of showbusiness.
Now in her forties, Margo Channing (Bette Davis) is still one of theatre’s biggest stars, selling out shows to rave review from the likes of acerbic critic Addison DeWitt (George Sanders). She’s about to become engaged to a younger director (Gary Merrill), who has received accolades on the stage but is bound for Hollywood. In steps the young and doe-eyed Eve (Anne Baxter), who idolises the leading lady and is desperate to follow in her footsteps.
An absolute joy to watch, All about Eve allows its stars to chew up the scenery whilst taking swipes at the stereotypes and cliches of Broadway theatre. It’s a film which flourishes due to a brilliantly bitchy and delightfully cutting script from writer and director Joseph L. Mankiewicz. The stars deliver his lines with absolute relish, no one more so than Davis who shines here. The Best Picture winner at the 1951 Academy Awards is an absolute dream, captivating from start to finish. All about Eve remains an absolute classic of the late Hollywood Golden Age.
- 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
Two audio commentaries from 2010, one featuring actor Celeste Holm, director Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s son Christopher Mankiewicz, and author Kenneth L. Geist; the other featuring author Sam Staggs
- All About Mankiewicz, a feature-length documentary from 1983 about the director
- Episodes of The Dick Cavett Show from 1969 and 1980 featuring actors Bette Davis and Gary Merrill New interview with costume historian Larry McQueen
- Hollywood Backstories: “All About Eve,” a 2001 documentary featuring interviews with Davis and others about the making of the film
Documentaries from 2010 about Mankiewicz’s life and career, the short story on which the film is based and its real-world inspiration, and a real-life “Sarah Siddons Society” based on the film’s fictional society
- Radio adaptation of the film from 1951
- PLUS: An essay by critic Terrence Rafferty and the 1946 short story on which the film is based
All about Eve is released on Blu-ray as part of the Criterion Collection on 23 August.