Welcome to Framed, a column at Cinematical that runs every Thursday and celebrates the artistry of cinema -- one frame at a time.
It's been called the "bitchiest" movie ever made, but 'All About Eve' doesn't rely on a showgirl's timely push down the stairs, or a ballerina's self-loathing to make the cut. While it's easy to dismiss the tear-stained story of a girl down on her luck and the marvelous rantings of Bette Davis and George Sanders as a campy melodrama about wayward women, its smart set-up and sophisticated performances elevate it to the realm of classic Hollywood cinema.
Joseph Mankiewicz writes and directs this tale of aging theater starlet, Margo (Davis), whose competition arrives in the form of a dewy-eyed, young thing with a convincing sob story to tell. Eve (Anne Baxter) shows up on a theater house's backstage doorstep -- where she's apparently spent every night of the show's run -- hoping to catch a moment with her idol, Margo. When Eve is swept up by the actress and her circle, her entry into the grand dame's exciting world of designer ball gowns, cocktail parties and watchful critics eventually betrays that she's not the innocent she claims to be.