Monday, February 8, 2010
MOVIE MANIA MONDAY
With 'The Academy Awards' less than a month away, I thought I would talk about one of my passions: movies.
Specifically, I want to talk about Hollywood's 'Golden Era' and the films it produced.
This is where my heart truly lies in movie form: classic films and it's stars.
It's hard to pick a favorite, but if I had to it would probably be 'All About Eve' starring Bette Davis, Anne Baxter and the wonderfully cynical and witty George Sanders.
Bette Davis is Margo Channing, an aging Broadway star playing roles long past her prime that would be better suited for someone half her age. However, her clout, talent and ego keep her on top.
Margo has a small, loyal circle of friends whose attempt to keep her grounded in reality often plays out in exhaustion for them -- and entertaining for the viewing audience: an acclaimed playwright and his devoted wife, Lloyd and Karen Richards (played by Hugh Marlowe and Celeste Holm), Margo's long time boyfriend and stage director, Bill Simpson (played by Bette Davis' then real life husband, Gary Merrill) and Margo's devoted and scrappy assistant, Birdie (played fabulously by character actress, Thelma Ritter).
Enter Eve, played by Anne Baxter.
Eve is a doe-eyed incomparable fan, seeing every single performance of Margo's in her latest play.
Lurking in the shadows night after night just to get a glimpse of Margo, Eve is finally noticed by good hearted and well-intentioned Karen, who invites Eve into Margo's dressing room for a face to face introduction.
Eve speaks as a humbled, undeserving fan with quite a story about how she arrived in New York: widowed at a young age and left on her own in a small town with no hope of a future and no parents or family to speak of, Eve left her home town and turned to the theater for her escape, eventually ending up in New York.
Margo immediately decides to take Eve under her wing, much to the delight of Karen -- and much to the chagrin and distrust of Birdie.
The audience is left wondering at this point if Birdie is overreacting because she is simply jealous and feeling displaced -- or are her feelings founded?
It isn't long before the ever grateful Eve ingratiates herself into every aspect of Margo's life -- causing multiple fights and dissension -- all done and said with only the best intentions for Margo, of course. Or is Eve's devotion motivated by more selfish reasons?
Addison DeWitt (George Sanders) is a scheming -- yet somehow delightful to watch -- theater critic, long tired of Margo's prolonged career of playing parts meant for younger actresses.
When Addison befriends Eve and spurns her on to audition for Lloyd's new play, things really begin to unravel for this tight knit group, with boundaries being over-stepped, loyalties and motives being questioned and plotting, paranoia and accusations running high.
Watch for Marilyn Monroe's small part as a wanna be actress -- her very first screen role.
The last scene of this film is what one would call 'just desserts!'
However, as a whole, I would say this film is seven, rich courses and a film one should indulge in at least once.
This film also spawned one of the most memorable and quoted movie lines of all time by 'Margo Channing': "Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night."
1950 winner of six 'Academy Awards' including 'Best Picture', 'Best Director', 'Best Writing' and a well deserved 'Best Supporting Actor' win for George Sanders.
Even sixty years later, this film withstands the test of time -- and leaves us feeling satisfied.
*Back next week for more classic movie reviews and back later today for a new posting on my '90 Days' blog.