Bette, Marilyn, and the Women of ‘All About Eve’

‘It’s all about women … and their men!’ was the original tagline for All About Eve (1950), ranked in first place today by Peter Bradshaw, movie critic for The Guardian, in a list of Bette Davis’ 20 Greatest Performances. Although Claudia Caswell, the aspiring actress played so well by Marilyn, is considered an archetypal ‘dumb blonde,’ ultimately she proved more than a match for the other characters in her naked ambition.

“Davis does a great deal of drinking and smoking and gown-wearing and hair-tossing, and the superbly sharp and witty script makes sense of her cynicism and wariness. Female friendship and female enmity had always been keynotes of Davis’s career, along with the fear of failure and fear of death, but it was never so drolly and insouciantly presented (with great supporting turns from George Sanders, Celeste Holm and Marilyn Monroe).”

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