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George Sanders

George Sanders

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Into the Vortex: Female Voice in FilmSunday, July 19, 20095:00 p.m.All About Eve Joseph L.

Mankiewicz (U.S., 1950)Studio Vault Print This most famous of Joseph Mankiewicz’s films fully exploits its considerable star power—Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders, Thelma Ritter, Celeste Holm, and Marilyn Monroe (in a memorable bit part) give it all they’ve got, and duke it out for most quotable zinger.

The cautionary tale for aging actresses—beware of self-effacing ingénues with their awful designs on your career and man—is structured via flashbacks and multiple voice-overs, giving us a Rashomon-like prism-view of the enigmatic Eve.

Though the delightfully sardonic, authorial Addison DeWitt (Sanders) plays voice-emcee here, there are layers of the story that he admits he can’t access—and which are supplied by Margo (Davis) and Karen (Holm), who speak to a deeper, more troubling consciousness of what Eve represents.

“Fasten your seat belts” for this hugely fun Hollywood-on-Hollywood send-up, a “woman’s film” paean to feminine power, and a deft sketch of the pleasures and pitfalls of master-slave relations.

—Britta Sjogren • Written by Mankiewicz, based on the story “The Wisdom of Eve” by Mary Orr.

Photographed by Milton Krasner.

With Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders, Celeste Holm.

(138 mins, B&W, 35mm, From 20th Century Fox)
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