AFI: All About Eve

All About Eve (1950)
Directed By: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Starring: Bette Davis / Anne Baxter

Another AFI film off the list. Watching All About Eve, lots of things I’d heard over the years clicked and made sense. I heard the classic line, “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night” I finally saw a Mankiewicz film, who I’d heard about for quite some time (Although I may have seen The Virginian) And last but not least, I realized why All About Eve was listed AFI’s Heroes & Villians list, and deservedly so.

Anne Baxter put in a near-perfect performance as the title character, playing Eve with just the right amount of subtlety and charisma. I also really liked Bette Davis in the role of Margo Channing. I was reminded of Gloria Swanson’s chilling performance as Norma Desmond in Sunset Blvd. Both characters are obsessed with their own stardom and have a desire to control their surroundings. (Both films also have similar beginnings as well) Ironically, both films were released in the same year.

For a film that relies predominantly on dialogue between the many characters to tell the story,  I was surprisingly engaged throughout. This is proof that you don’t need action to tell an entertaining story.

All About Eve also has another ending that I really liked and fit the story perfectly in a circular manner. This is definitely a film worth watching.


AFI: The Grapes of Wrath

Over the years I’ve been trying to watch all of the films on the American Film Institute’s top 100 films, using the 10th Anniversary Edition to work with. After today, I now have only 19 films left. (Perhaps when I’m done with those I’ll start on their Heroes and Villians list).

Yesterday I watched The Grapes of Wrath, and this afternoon I watched All About Eve.

The Grapes of Wrath
Directed By: John Ford
Starring: Henry Fonda

The Grapes of Wrath is one of those great American classics that manages to get on most of the big lists. With that in mind, I was expecting a minor let-down because of all the great things I’d heard about it. Yesterday I had one of those rare experiences watching a film where all of my expectations were met and exceeded.

I found myself mesmerized by the people in the story; I wanted them to succeed. The Grapes of Wrath is a depressing film, which I knew coming in, but I was surprised by the little instances within the film where kindness was shown. In a film peopled by crooked cops and harsh times, it was refreshing to see these acts of kindness and integrity.

The lighting in the film was also superb. In the opening scene where Tom is in his old house at night it really looks like it’s at night. And in another scene, where he has a candle at night, it looks  real. I know The Grapes of Wrath is the text-book example of natural lighting, but there’s a reason for that. 🙂

And without spoiling anything, I love how the film ended.

I’ll review All About Eve later.

How many films from AFI’s list have you seen?