Retrospective Review: “All About Eve”

A winner of five Academy Awards, “All About Eve” is a masterpiece from Hollywood’s Golden Age. Starring Bette Davis, Anne Baxter and George Sanders, this is a classic drama that explores the ambition, manipulation and fragility felt and caused by those involved in the the acting business.

Margo Channing (Bette Davis) has maintained the title of one of New York’s best actresses for decades. The most successful playwright in the country, Lloyd Richards (Hugh Marlowe), and his wife Karen (Celeste Holm) are her best friends, writing her roles that only increase her stardom. Bill Simpson (Gary Merrill), a famous and dashing director is madly in love with her. Despite appearances, Margo’s insecurity regarding her age and the fear of dwindling fame prevents her from truly realizing how ideal her life is. Enter Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter), a seemingly innocent young woman who idolizes Margo. After discovering that Eve is alone in this world after the premature death of her husband, Margo takes pity on her and appoints her as a personal assistant and confidante. As Eve becomes more involved with Margo’s life, however, it becomes apparent that she is as much of an actress as Margo, demurely disguising ulterior motives that threaten every aspect of Margo’s life and career. Quickly, the plot catapults from a drama about the midlife crisis of an actress into a suspenseful struggle for the recognition and happiness of the spotlight between Margo and Eve.

“All About Eve” may be more than 60 years old, but unlike the aging Margo, it remains a timeless classic, with only a few minor cinematic details that unveil its being from another generation. The fears of growing older, never realizing your dreams or being betrayed by a trusted one are as relatable and relevant today. Stylistically, the cinematography is not limited by the technology of an older Hollywood, but contributes to the film feeling more like a play rather than a movie. There is a limited number of simple sets that are rotated, narration and soliloquies to clarify the feelings of characters and carefully calculated dialogue with an air of cynicism and wordplay similar to onstage dramas. In short, “All About Eve” is a masterpiece in every sense of the word and will be appreciated by fans of both older and newer films alike.

In order to celebrate this iconic film, Turner Classic Movies has sponsored it to be specially screened in theaters across the nation on March 8, including the AMC La Jolla Village 12 at both 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. In order to buy tickets, learn more about the film or discover other upcoming classic films coming to the AMC La Jolla theater, visit

Image Courtesy of 20th Century Fox