All About Eve
An ingenue named Eve (Anne Baxter) manoeuvres herself, by subtle manipulation, into the favour of an established but aging stage actress, Margot Channing (Bette Davis), and her circle of theatre friends.
There was a time when I didn't know who Joseph L. Manckiewicz or Bette Davis were. All I remember is one Saturday afternoon I sat down to watch "All About Eve" and was mesmerised. I was probably about ten years old and the big excitement, at first, was seeing Marilyn Monroe in a minor part. But as the film progressed Bette Davis and George Sanders won my heart. Top that off with the comedic flair of both Celeste Holm (High Society) and Thelma Ritter (Rear Window) and I became a firm fan.
Later I went back and watched every Davis film I could get my hands on. She was the Queen of drama and comedy and the epitome of cool. The story goes that when Vivian Leigh was cast as Scarlet O'Hara Bette convinced her Studio to make the film "Jezebel". This was a costume drama to end all costume dramas, even perhaps "Gone With The Wind". Bette went on to receive an Oscar nomination but the Studio's version of the story is quite different.
Now, of course, I am fully aware of the genius that was Manckiewicz. Imagine that he wrote a literary script that people related to, go figure. The script makes this film memorable, the witty dialogue makes it plausible and Bette's "Fasten your seatbelts, its going to be a bumpy night" the quote that still resonates in the 21st Century.
It's hard to work out if the worst Antagonist is Addison DeWitt (Sanders) or Eve Harrington (Baxter). Sanders plays a debonair and cultured fiend who blackmails Eve, once he works out what she is up to. Having got what she wanted Eve is relatively happy but she wants to be Margot Channing, not work for her.
To be fair, Eve gets her come-uppance when her goody goody facade starts to fall apart. After she tries to seduce Bill (Margot's Beau), and fails, Eve almost tears her own wig in half; unable to bear that she has been caught out.
Eventually though Margot is betrayed by her misguided friend Karen (Celeste Holm). As Karen believes she is doing the right thing by delaying Margot so her understudy, Eve, can make her debut. This is Eve's final manipulation and she believes she has what she wants when she receives an award.
After Eve accepts her award, she decides to skip the after-party and goes to her room, where a young woman named Phoebe has been waiting for her but has fallen asleep. This is where the "Circle of Life" makes its mocking play, as Eve realises Phoebe is about to do exactly what she did to Margo.
Karma expertly guided by Manckiewicz.