Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Long Voyage Home

Now I'm not usually one to brag, but I'm about to throw a little bit of unabashed boasting your way: I'm ten for ten. That's right, the predictions I made last week (see "Great Expectations" if you need a little refresher)for this year's Best Picture nominations were all correct...if anyone doubted my cinematic genius before this moment, they can now rest assured in knowing that, when it comes to motion pictures, I'm basically omniscient.

Things aren't so perfect in my actual life, though. After sleeping through my alarm this morning, scrambling to get to school, dashing straight to my one job, flying off to my other, hauling myself to the gym from there, and nearly nodding off on the long voyage home, I'm truly learning what it means to operate on nothing but caffeine and unshakeable will power (it means seeing spots and staring at inanimate objects for inordinate amounts of time, for those who wonder). With my homework spread out in front of me (which was a major joke...I never do homework!), I finally settled down tonight to watch All About Eve (1950) in another journey back to the classic winners from the 50's. Since last night's selection- the victor of 1957- is seven years this film's senior, this stepped in as one of the oldest films I've seen to date. It was a new experience for me because I'm a black-and-white movie virgin (if you don't count Casablanca (1943), which everyone has seen anyway), but I loved it more than I ever expected to. From the moment that first greyscaled shot illuminates the screen, we are immersed into the plush, smoke-laden world of the elite theater, centered around Margo Channing (Bette Davis) and her company of play-people. Baby-faced, doe-eyed Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter) doesn't seem to wear the countenance of evil, but we eventually see that her innocent appearance is nothing but a mask to hide her true character. Never has a villain looked so sweet, nor worked so swiftly and quietly to feed her own ferocious ambitions...honestly, who could resist this tumultuous tale of tricks and treachery?

All About Eve is a justly deserving Best Picture if I ever saw one. It merits every bit of praise that has echoed from the critics, fans, and industry insiders throughout the decades, and it certainly earned every one of the 14 Oscar nominations bestowed upon it in 1950 (a lofty number unsurpassed until Titanic blew our minds in 1997).
Now, why not use this opportunity to increase your useless movie knowledge?

Eve is the first and only film to garner four actress nominations: Davis and Baxter for Best Actress, and Celeste Holm and Thelma Ritter for Best Supporting Actress.

Leading lady Bette Davis served as the first female president of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (we plebeians know it simply as The Academy).

Some claim that Davis was actually the one who coined the affectionate nickname "Oscar" after receiving the award in 1936.

Entertainment Weekly named the film's famed quote, "Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night" as the #9 greatest movie line of all time.

Bette Davis filmed all her scenes for this film in just 16 days.

Honestly, I could go on for days with these things, but I'm practically entering REM while typing. I need to stop starting these useless tangents if I don't have the ability to finish them...but again, I digress.

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