All About Mankiewicz

A widely beloved Hollywood classic, All About Eve is justly famous for its impossibly witty dialogue, its dramatic twists and turns, and its note-perfect cast, led by Bette Davis as an imperious Broadway star, and Anne Baxter as a young upstart striving to scheme her way into the limelight. And no small part of the film’s smashing success stems from the razor sharpness with which writer-director Joseph L. Mankiewicz—a four-time Oscar winner renowned for the style and sophistication of his work—draws his characters. In the above clip—taken from All About Mankiewicz, a candid feature-length interview available on our new edition of Eve—the legendary filmmaker offers a window into the way he sees his dramatis personae, elaborating on his view of human nature as fundamentally “fragmented,” and delving into the deepest-seated motivations of his most celebrated film’s two main characters. “Margo has to act in order to be,” says Mankiewicz, ensconced in an armchair and puffing thoughtfully on his pipe, but the predatory “Eve is not an animal that’s indigenous to the theatrical jungle . . . Typing pools are full of Eves. They’ve got their eye on going to the top.”

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