Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Stars: Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders
Plot: An ingenue insinuates herself into the company of an established but aging stage actress and her circle of theater friends.
Bette Davis fell in love with her co-star Gary Merrill during the shoot of this movie and the two married in July 1950 a few weeks after filming was completed. They adopted a baby girl, whom they named Margot.
Co-star Celeste Holm spoke about her experience with Bette Davis on the first day of shooting: "I walked onto the set . . . on the first day and said, 'Good morning,' and do you know her reply? She said, 'Oh shit, good manners.' I never spoke to her again - ever."
Bette Davis' marriage to William Grant Sherry was in the throes of breaking up while she was making the film. Her raspy voice in the film is largely due to the fact that she burst a blood vessel in her throat from screaming at her soon-to-be-ex-husband during one of their many rows. Director Joseph L. Mankiewicz liked the croaky quality so he didn't have Davis change it.
Zsa Zsa Gabor kept arriving on the set because she was jealous of her husband George Sanders in his scenes with the young blonde ingénue Marilyn Monroe.
Years later, Bette Davis said in an interview "Filming All About Eve was a very happy experience....the only bitch in the cast was Celeste Holm."
All About Eve received 14 Academy Awards nominations (a feat unmatched until the 1997 film Titanic) and won six, including Best Picture.
All About Eve is the only film in Oscar history to receive four female acting nominations (Davis and Baxter as Best Actress, Holm and Ritter as Best Supporting Actress).
In real life, Bette Davis had just turned 42 as she undertook the role of Margo Channing, and Anne Baxter, still an up-and-comer, not only wowed audiences with her performance, but successfully pressured the powers that be to get her nominated for an Oscar in the Best Actress category rather than Best Supporting Actress. This is thought to have split the vote between herself and Davis. The winner for the 1950 Best Actress was Judy Holliday for her noticeable turn in Born Yesterday (1950), so Baxter's actions in effect blocked Davis' chances for the win.
It was Darryl F. Zanuck who decided to change the working title "Best Performance" to "All About Eve" after reading one of Addison DeWitt's lines in the opening narration of the script.
Margo Channing's famous cocktail dress was an Edith Head creation. To Head's horror, just as they were about to go film the cocktail party, she found that the dress didn't quite fit Bette Davis in the shoulders. There was no time to fix the dress but fortunately Davis hit on the bright idea of simply slipping the dress off her shoulders.
Contrary to popular belief, Margo Channing is not based on Tallulah Bankhead. The film was adapted from an original story "The Wisdom of Eve" by Mary Orr (uncredited in this film), based on a real-life incident involving Austrian actress Elisabeth Bergner during her run in the hit stage thriller "The Two Mrs. Carrolls" in 1943-44. Originally the lead was, like Bergner, a foreign actress named Margola Cranston before it was changed to Margo Channing. However, the story about it being based on Bankhead persisted, however, and when Bankhead heard it, she reportedly told a live radio audience that the next time she saw Bette Davis, she would "tear every hair out of her mustache".
Three cast-members committed suicide in real life: Marilyn Monroe, George Sanders and Barbara Bates.
According to the casting director's list, future White House occupants Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan were considered for the roles of Bill Sampson and Eve Harrington.
After the film's release, Bette Davis implored Joseph L. Mankiewicz to write a sequel that would focus on the characters of Margo and Bill (played by her lover on-and-off screen, Gary Merrill). Many years later, after she and Merrill had married and divorced, Davis ran into Mankiewicz at a party and said to him, "Joe, you can forget that sequel. I've played it and it doesn't work."