Reel Classics

All About Eve: Criterion Collection (1950) - Blu-ray Review

  • Movie Review

  • Blu-ray Review

  • Film Details

  • Art

All About Eve

"What a story!  Everything but the bloodhounds snappin' at her rear end."

Written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, and produced by Darryl F. Zanuck, All About Eve continues to shine bright thanks to the dazzling performance of Bette Davis as Margo Channing as she takes Anne Baxter as Eve Harrington under her wing and invites her into the world of theater and stardom . . . only to find herself at odds with her guest and, eventually, her own mortality as youth ALWAYS trumps talent again and again and again and . . . 

"never gets old, never wears thin, and NEVER disappoints as an idol gets totally and completely cannibalized right in front of our very eyes"


Eve is not at all the innocent lamb that she claims to be.  She’s more than her woe is me tale and she wants what Channing has: ABSOLUTE GREATNESS.  The seduction game is afoot early as theater critic Addison DeWitt (George Sanders) begins the tale with a glimpse at the future as Eve accepts an award for her performance, thanking those she stepped on along the way, including Channing.

Before all that happens, Channing - overcome by her tale and her adoration - invites Eve into her home, ultimately offering her  a job with her as her assistant, tossing her longtime friend, Birdie (Thelma Ritter), to the side.  Birdie never buys what Eve sells, but none of that matter when she finds herself displaced. 

But it certainly makes for an incredibly witty screenplay and a timeless narrative that NEVER gets . . . ehem . . . old.  Here, in the hands of all this talent, All About Eve is indeed a REEL CLASSIC.All About Eve

Co-starring Celeste Holm, and featuring Gary Merrill, Hugh Marlowe, and Marilyn Monroe in one of her earliest roles, All About Eve is a tale that keeps on being told as there is always someone, somewhere who wants what someone else has and is willing, no matter how insignificant that fame might be, to do whatever it takes to steal it from beneath them.

Eve, who is later seen wearing the costume that Channing wore on stage, is plotting her way toward stardom.  She plays the innocent all the way to the top and her truth is only revealed in dry side smiles that her directness almost casts doubts on as she eventually moves into Channing’s guest house and takes over the day-to-day schedule of Channing, fawning over her whenever and wherever she can.

But it is all practice for her own chance to fly on the stage and be more successful than Channing at her own game.

From the very start of the picture to its closing frame as the circle of starlets completes itself, we are in the presence of greatness as everything about All About Eve works to create a film that never gets old, never wears thin, and NEVER disappoints as an idol gets totally and completely cannibalized right in front of our very eyes.  

All About Eve is now on blu-ray thanks to the Criterion Collection’s 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack.  The story might be familiar, but this impressive film truly does not disappoint.

5/5 stars

All About Eve

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Criterion
Available on Blu-ray
- November 26, 2019
Screen Formats: 1.37:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: LPCM Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

In Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s devastatingly witty Hollywood classic, backstage is where the real drama plays out. One night, Margo Channing (Bette Davis) entertains a surprise dressing-room visitor: her most adoring fan, the shy, wide-eyed Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter). But as Eve becomes a fixture in Margo’s life, the Broadway legend soon realizes that her supposed admirer intends to use her and everyone in her circle, including George Sanders’s acid-tongued critic, as stepping-stones to stardom. Featuring stiletto-sharp dialogue and direction by Mankiewicz, and an unforgettable Davis in the role that revived her career and came to define it, the multiple-Oscar-winning All About Eve is the most deliciously entertaining film ever made about the ruthlessness of show business.

Video:

With an aspect ratio of 1.37:1, Criterion’s 4K handling of this masterpiece is impressive as new details in costumes are revealed.  There is a new depth to the picture, too.  The shadows are deeper and stronger as an acetate 35mm duplicate negative was used as a primary source for scanning in 4K to create the highest picture quality possible.  There are so many new details to decipher thanks to this 1080p transfer.  And, as original documents from the film’s director were followed during the restoration, the new transfer more accurately reflects what he was intending the picture to look and feel like.  And it all works to create an experience that is unlike any other in Hollywood’s history.

Audio:

Dialogue-focused and direct, the Dolby TrueHD Mono soundtrack attached here is plenty solid as it reveals All About Eve.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • There are 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.

Special Features:

With a new cover designed by Greg Ruth and an essay by critic Terrence Rafferty and “The Wisdom of Eve”, this release is a stunning 4K handling of an unforgettable classic film.  The featurettes included with the blu-ray include a feature-length documentary, episodes of The Dick Cavett Show, a NEW interview with costume historian Larry McQueen, and three other documentaries about the film and its legacy.

  • 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 Wisdom of Eve,” the 1946 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 organization
  • Radio adaptation of the film from 1951
  • Promotion for the film featuring Davis

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  5/5 stars
  Audio 5/5 stars
  Extras 5/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

5/5 stars

All About Eve

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
138 mins
Director
: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Writer:
Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Cast:
Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders
Genre
: Drama
Tagline:
It's all about women---and their men!
Memorable Movie Quote: "You looking for an answer or an argument?"
Theatrical Distributor:
Twentieth Century Fox
Official Site:
Release Date:
October 27, 1950
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
November 26, 2019.
Synopsis: In Joseph L. Mankiewicz's devastatingly witty Hollywood classic, backstage is where the real drama plays out. One night, Margo Channing (Bette Davis) entertains a surprise dressing-room visitor: her most adoring fan, the shy, wide-eyed Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter). But as Eve becomes a fixture in Margo's life, the Broadway legend soon realizes that her supposed admirer intends to use her and everyone in her circle, including George Sanders's acid-tongued critic, as stepping-stones to stardom. Featuring stiletto-sharp dialogue and direction by Mankiewicz, and an unforgettable Davis in the role that revived her career and came to define it, the multiple-Oscar-winning All About Eve is the most deliciously entertaining film ever made about the ruthlessness of show business.

All About Eve

Joomla SEF URLs by Artio
Follow us on Twitter
Like us on Facebook
Letterboxd
Find us on Rotten Tomatoes