I bought this All About Eve Bluray at Laser Blazer about two hours ago. And as I was leaving I remembered, of course, that it won the Best Picture Oscar for 1950. And this led me to wonder what today’s cuddly-bear Academy voters would think of this Joseph L. Mankiewicz classic if they were transported back 60 years.
Cuddly-bear voters are the ones who are drawn to movies that provide the kind of warm, reassuring comfort-blanket emotions that are found in The King’s Speech and who therefore aren’t voting for The Social Network because it’s too chilly and arcane and there’s no one likable to root for.
So if the Cuddlies were to be transported one by one in Rod Taylor‘s time machine back to February 4, 1951, their general sentiments about All About Eve would probably go as follows:
“It’s a very good film, but I just didn’t care about anyone, and it’s all happening within this narrow little world of theatre people. Yeah, great dialogue, but witty banter only goes so far. Where’s the heart? And nobody seems to learn anything. Everyone in this film except for Thelma Ritter, Celeste Holm and Gary Merrill is unstable or scheming or generally unpleasant. Bette Davis is a bitter insecure meltdown case and screeching all the time, Anne Baxter is positively reptilian and George Sanders is one of those poison-pen critics with ice water in his veins. And what happens at the end? Okay, just desserts — Baxter is going to get hers. But emotionally I just felt…I don’t know. It didn’t reach me.
“I’m not putting All About Eve down, mind. It’s fine, it’s a good film, very well directed. But I like Father of the Bride better. I can’t help it but I love it. You don’t watch that film — you feel it. Poor, stressed out, economically suffering Spencer Tracy! Losing his daughter and also gaining a son, and going through hell the whole time. You just feel for him.”