A Year: Day to Day Men: 13th of October

Jeans and Treble Cleft

October 13, 1950 was the release date of the American drama film “All About Eve”.

“All About Eve’ was written and directed by Joseph Mankiewicz and produced by Darryl F. Zanuck. Based on the 1946 short story “The Wisdom of Eve” by Mary Orr, the film starred Bette Davis and Anne Baxter. In the film, Davis’ character Margo Channing, a well regarded but aging Broadway star, has her career and personal relationships threatened by a ambitious fan, ;played by Baxter, who maneuvers herself into Margo Channing’s life.

In 1949, Joseph Mankiewicz was considering a story about an aging actress and, after reading Orr’s book, felt that the added element of a conniving girl would be a good addition to his story. He presented a film treatment of the combined stories, changing some characters’ names, removing the husband of the actress in the book story, and replacing him with a love-interest character for the actress to add tension when the ambitious fan arrived. Producer Zanuck reduced the screenplay by about fifty pages and chose the title “All About Eve” from the opening scenes when the theater critic says he will tell us “more about Eve…All about Eve, in fact.”

There was much discussion about who would play the lead character Margo Channing. Barbara Stanwyck, Tallulah Bankhead, and Joan Crawford were all considered. After discussion it was decided to give the role to Claudette Colbert, who withdrew after an injury just before filming. The role eventually went to Bette Davis, who thought the role was very good for her career. The character of Margo Channing was changed with the casting of Davis, from a genteel, humorous actress to a more abrasive one.

Anne Baxter had spent ten years in supporting roles, winning the 1946 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in “The Razor’s Edge”. She was cast in the role of Eve Harrington, the ambitious fan, after the first choice, Jeanne Crain, became pregnant. The remaining supporting actors were all well known in film: George Sanders, Hugh Marlowe, Celeste Holm, Gary Merrill, and Thelma Ritter; however, there was one young and as yet unknown actress in this film, but about to become a star: Marilyn Monroe.

“All About Eve” received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics upon it release on October 13, 1950 at a New York City premiere. The film received fourteen Academy Award nominations, winning six, including Best Picture. “All About Eve” is the only film in Oscar history to receive four female acting nominations: Davis and Baxter for Best Actress, and Celeste Holm and Thelma Ritter for Best Supporting Actress. When the American Film Institute named Bette Davis as number two on its list of Greatest Female American Screen Legends, it cited “All About Eve” to highlight Davis’ legendary career.

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