I mean, but really All About Marilyn.
In her on-screen debut, Marilyn Monroe stole one scene for about fifteen seconds in a minor speaking role, surrounded by the film’s starring cast, and then commanded Hollywood’s attention for the next dozen years. Her medium, All About Eve, 1950’s Best Picture winner, commands a certain respect amongst film élite as a tour de force (nominated for 14 awards – including an as-of-yet unmatched 4 female acting awards). Bette Davis is superb here; George Saunders is sublime; Anne Baxter is adequate – but that may be part of her charm; Marilyn Monroe is radiant. Film and politics have enshrined Ms. Monroe as simply legendary for a few reasons: whether it be modern filmmaking dulls the senses as it attempts to jam technology down its readers’ eye-sockets and ear canals, in essence leveling the playing field, or whether it’s just that no other actor has graced the screen with such a furious radiance that Marilyn’s legacy simply multiplies ad infinitum and only grows with time.
All About Eve, written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, is not all about Eve Harrington, but rather about her meteoric rise to fame and her inevitable downfall. It’s about the prescience of the next big thing and about the lives and histories and themes of the people an ambitious actor must crush to achieve. It’s about the different paths different actors (people, really) can take to accomplish a goal. It’s about not really understanding the method, but the ready-fire-aim approach. And it’s about coming to grips with one’s individual place within a group. Really, though Monroe’s Miss Casswell is immune to these issues. No amount of ambition will hold someone like her back. Continue reading