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YMMV / All About Eve

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  • Adaptation Displacement: The film was based on a short story "The Wisdom of Eve" in which the title character is a Karma Houdini (which The Hays Code wouldn't allow in the film). The short story, in turn, is believed to be Very Loosely Based on a True Story with actress Elisabeth Bergner as the inspiration for Margo.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • George Sanders himself sees Eve as a "the closest thing to a heroine" in the story and Margo as immensely dislikable and unrelatable. This is probably why Showgirls - which is this except with Vegas showgirls - made the 'Eve' the main character.
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    • Could Karen's sabotage of Margo's lift to the train station (making her miss her performance) be just her trying to give Eve a chance - or a moment of frustration wanting to knock Margo down a peg after weeks of her being unbearable. Probably a combination of both, since she wanted to help Eve but also get back at Margo.
    • Once the truth about Eve is revealed, her meeting Karen has this thrown into it. Karen's narration says that she had glimpsed Eve there several times already. Had Eve deliberately stood there because she knew Karen would be walking by?
    • Margo's paranoia about Eve attempting to take over her position as a leading lady. Given she's completely right, is this just paranoia stemming from her growing insecurity about her age, or can she, an actress, spot something false in Eve's performance (even if she's not totally aware of it)?
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  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Everyone in this universe is a selfish, cynical jackass who lacks the ability to care about others; and if a character does not start that way in this film, he or she will sure as hell be disillusioned into cynicism by the end of this film.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Eve of course got this from a couple of the film's very cast members. Some viewers like to interpret her just as an ambitious feminist businesswoman who wants to do well in her career. This is ignoring that she does so by scheming and manipulating everyone with a pack of lies, rather than attempting to actually work for success.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Addison DeWitt, big time. All due to his Magnificent Bastard status and putting Eve in her place, and being played by George Sanders!
  • Fanon: Eve and Addison are often interpreted to be really gay. However unlike films such as Rebel Without a Cause, Rope or The Haunting (1963) where the subtext is much more obvious, there's no definite evidence beyond Wild Mass Guessing. Eve has an obsession with Margo, but is set on becoming her rather than being romantically involved in her. She also attempts to seduce two men (to further her career yes) and it's revealed she was run out of town for having an affair with a married man. Addison meanwhile only has his I Am Very British way of speaking, and viewers often forget that he blackmails Eve into marrying him.
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  • Harsher in Hindsight: Karen and Margo's rocky friendship imploding and then getting rekindled is harsher to watch with the knowledge that Celeste Holm and Bette Davis did not get on at all during filming - and years later Davis would say Holm was "the only bitch in the cast".
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • At one point, Margo quotes from Julius Caesar ("the evil that men do", though she can't remember what comes after that). Three years later, Joseph L. Mankiewicz went on to direct an adaptation of Julius Caesar.
    • Margo refers to her maid Bertie as a "fifth rate vaudeville star". Fast forward to What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? where Bette Davis would play a formerly famous vaudeville child star, in the shadow of another woman who went on to become a noted film star.
    • Marilyn Monroe as an aspiring starlet. Her last scene is being laughed out of her theatre audition and told to try televisionnote . Not only did she become a superstar in real life, she never starred in any television productions.
    • Anne Baxter, who played Eve Harrington, would eventually play Margo in the musical adaptation.
    • Meta example. Bette Davis travelled by train to San Francisco for production, while the rest of the cast flew out on a private jet. Celeste Holm reportedly said to Gary Merrill "I wonder what it'll be like working with the Queen Bee" and Merrill responded with something to the effect of "it'll be over in eight weeks". Merrill and Davis fell in love on set and were married for ten years.
    • Playwright Arthur Miller is name dropped in the film. Marilyn Monroe, who plays Miss Caswell, would eventually marry him.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Addison De Witt and Eve are both expert manipulators but in the end Addison is the one that wins.
  • Memetic Mutation: Do we even need to say it? Something about seat belts...
  • Moment of Awesome:
    • Addison completely breaking Eve, making clear to her that now she is basically his creature and exposing her as the Smug Snake she is.
    • Margo's passive aggressive congratulation to Eve at the end of the film, as she subtly let her know what she thinks of her:
    Margo: Nice speech, Eve. But I wouldn't worry too much about your heart. You can always put that award where your heart ought to be.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • The concept of someone slowly destabilising your life and your nearest and dearest friends not believing you when you turn to them for help makes Margo's frequent angry outbursts very understandable.
    • The ending with Eve letting her Loony Fan Phoebe stay in her apartment while she relaxes is a morbid Bookend for the film, as Phoebe not only secretly broke into her place (which not even Eve dared to do with Margo), but is already trying on Eve's cape and holding her award with a crazy shine in her eyes.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Marilyn Monroe makes one of her first film appearances, playing a Dumb Blonde.
  • Retroactive Recognition: This film has one of Marilyn Monroe's first speaking parts.
  • Unfortunate Implications: It has been argued that this movie has anti-homosexual and sexist undertones. Addison and Eve are presented as villains, and, as noted, are often interpreted as homosexualsnote . Eve's focus on her career, in contrast to Karen's devotion to her husband, and Margo's eventual acceptance of Bill and of her fading career, is shown as devious, and she eventually succumbs to Addison's domination. The greatest example within the movie itself is Margo's speech to Karen, where she outright says a woman is not a woman without a husband, and having a career just leads to ending up alone. The Other Wiki has full details.
  • Values Dissonance: Addison's scathing comments to Miss Caswell about how she has no chance in theatre and must resort to television. Back in that time, television was quite new and considered a real step down for any actor, rather than the easier way to get famous it would become (in terms of theatre acting anyway).


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