Were her characters femme fatales or sociopaths? Were they driven to be devious and contriving or evil manipulators who did not know what they were doing? Who could take a perfectly happy home- loving and creative, hospitable and caring – and turn it upside-down in a matter of months? This lady, that’s who. Here, as Evelyn in Guest of the House she convinces her new husband Dan to go away for awhile so that she can get some quality time with her new brother-in-law.
Every woman in the house figures her out from page one, even her little niece. But the men don’t get on board until the end of the film. Snake charmer? Hypnotist? This is a common noir plot, boy meets girl, boy is blinded by her charms and doesn’t see harm coming, or death.
That is why I find All About Eve so captivating. She meets her idol backstage played by Bette Davis. Who doesn’t love an adoring fan? Very quickly she gets inside, acting small and mousy, working her way into taking her idol’s place, both on stage and with her man. Here we see the great Margo Channing reduced to an angry, jealous mess due to the young actress’s manipulations.
How? Who could do that to the great Bette Davis? That is like knocking down the Colosseum, single-handedly taking apart the Taj Mahal. Take a look at this, with a peek at up-and-coming Marilyn Monroe. Doesn’t Eve (Ann Baxter) look benign here? Young and fresh and un-threatening. When she walks off with George Sanders, Bette is left holding Marilyn’s coat.
We love them. We hate them They mesmerize us. We can’t get enough of their subtle use of stockings and lipstick and a look. What look? Oh you know the look. From the pro’s, it only takes one glance.