In the film All About Eve, (directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and released in
1950), Eve Harrison (Anne Baxter) was a young woman with evil running through
her veins. She wanted to be 'somebody' and chose to get there through Margo
Channing (Betty Davis) who was a famous stage star. Eve would do whatever it
took to get where she wanted to be, including hurt the ones that trusted her and took
her in as a 'lost lamb'. Though Eve was already evil within and throughout, the
people around her made it even easier to acomplish her goals.
Margo was one of the most popular stage actresses and put herself high on a
pedastel, and looked at someone like Eve as being below her, a poor soul that could
be of no threat to anyone, especially Margo Channing. Eve played the meek and shy
girl that idolized Margo.
She claimed to attend all the preformaces of the play that
week due to the fact that she adored Margo and she would have nowhere else to go
anyway. Doing this allowed Eve to get her foot in the door. If it wasn't for Margo's
conceitedness, Eve would have had to work a little bit harder to get this. Margo took
her into her home.
Margo's secretary-aid, Birdie (Thelma Ritter), was the first to sense something was
strange about Eve, but her position made it not her place to speak her mind. Eve
knew this and also knew it would be easy to take control of her position because of
this. It would only seem to Margo that she enjoyed doing things for her.
Eve charmed Bill Simpson (Gary Merrill), director and Margo's lover, with
her feminine qualities that Margo lacked. Eve just seemed to be overly interested in
everything Bill had to say about the theater. She used to keep him admiring her and
at the same time, drove Margo crazy with jealousy to tear their relationship apart.
Little did she realize, Bill had no romantic feelings towards Eve at all, so she blew
her cover when she made a pass at him.
Karen Richards (Celeste Holm), Margo's best friend, was the one that found and
introduced Eve to Margo. She was the type of person that would anything for
anyone, sort of niave and trusted Eve from day one. Karen was amazed by Eve's
devotion towards her idol. After getting into Margo's home, she used Karen's
kindness to subtly suggest that she would love to replace Margo's pregnant
understudy. Once again she got her way.
After Eve's first reading, she completely won over Karen's husband, Lloyd
Richards (Hugh Marlowe), a playwright. Eve gave him his dream: to have an
actress play the part of a character with the same age, eliminating the 'comprimises'
that he normally had to work through with Margo (Margo was much older). Eve
was fabulous (from studying Margo 'like a blueprint') . Margo threw a jealousy fit
because everyone raved so about her preformance.Now this brought Lloyd to the
conclusion that Margo was well overdue for a boot.
Karen's kindness comes back again when Karen sets it up so Margo would miss her
show so Eve can have her big moment...thinking that she was doing good for all
concerned. After the play was when things began to fall apart. She received great
reviews for the preformance and set up an interview with Addison De Witt (George
Sanders), well known for degrating people in his column. She knew she could say
whatever she wanted and blame it on De Witt, claiming he changed her words
around, and noone would have trouble believing it.
She pleaded for Lloyd's forgiveness, stating that she could not face Margo or the
others. During this vindication, she once again worked her magic giving him the
idea that she would be perfect for his new play, which was created for Margo. She
got him to believe, like everyone else, that he came up with the idea instead of her.
Already tired of Margo's pushyness and temper tantrums, aside from the fact that
Eve was the perfect age, it wasn't tough for Lloyd to think she was best. But, he told
her, Karen had to agree.
By this time most have figured out her evil ways so she knew she had to get
outright nasty to get this part. She blackmailed Karen announcing that De Witt
said she best agree to her getting the part or De Witt wouldlet everyone know that
she was responsible for Margo missing the show so Eve could replace her. De Witt
knew nothing of this but it was easy for Karen to believe due to his past history.
In the end Eve got everything right back at her. De Witt checked out her past and
discovered all of her dirty little secrets and said now she belonged to him or he would
spill his guts.
In overall, Eve was able to play out her evil ways because the people around her
allowed her to. Each of their personalities made it possible for her to suceed in
getting what she wanted. Margo's conceitedness and insecurities, along with Karen
being too trusting. Addison De Witt's popular past history and Lloyd's blindness
due to the thought of his plays being acted out exactly how he wrote them also made
it easier. Had Birdie been higher in her position, Eve wouldn't have gotten as far as
she did, not with them anyway.