Sunday, April 6, 2008
The third night of the Bette Davis Centennial Tribute rocked. It was the pinnacle evening, falling on the 100th Anniversary of her birth, pairing All About Eve with Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (note marquee photo which I took myself and cartoonized.)
It was a festive crowd, the little theater was packed. Wild applause when Margo Channing (Bette) came on camera. I'd never seen Eve on a big screen and it was a treat. Bette was clearly at the top of her game for this film. Excellent supporting cast including Celeste Holm, Thelma Ritter, Gary Merrill, George Sanders, Hugh Marlowe, and an important early appearance by Marilyn Monroe. It won the academy award for best picture of 1950, and while I still find Sunset Boulevard more iconic, it is a very impressive film. Anne Baxter's backstabbing, man stealing Eve is a delight and there are many classic lines, most notably Margo's "Fasten your seat belts- its gonna be a bumpy night".
At intermission, all of the straight couples except two seemed to depart leaving Baby Jane for the gays. Over the top and halfway down the other side, Bette's broken down, boozed up bimbo is a sheer camp triumph, jousting with dear sweet wheelchair bound Blanche. We all know the film word for word, but it was such a pleasure seeing it on a big screen with an appreciative audience. A great cap to a big night for Bette. Tomorrow the tribute closes with the Whales of August (1987), and The Little Foxes (1941). I'll be back with an update.