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All About Eve: Friendship, Dignity, Integrity and Reality

Many thanks are due to Nathan Armstrong for much of the content contained in this presentation.

Matthew McDonald

on 14 March 2016

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Transcript of All About Eve: Friendship, Dignity, Integrity and Reality

Eve’s self-deprecating nature allows her to manoeuvre herself into the theatre world by out acting the actors with her touching
“drop of rain in the desert”
monologue, which only Birdie remarks as having
“everything but the bloodhounds”
. This emotive monologue makes the theatre stars melt in sympathy for Eve, granting her access into their inner circle immediately.
The audience becomes aware of Eve’s deceptive and cunning ways from the beginning. When Eve asks Karen for a favour, she takes advantage of Karen’s generosity with her modest behaviour to further strive for her overall goal. She does this in a manner that makes her look like a young humble
“24 year old”
, ultimately getting her the part as Margo’s understudy. Eve’s little
“lost lamb”
act allows her to weave her way into Margo’s life and slowly make her way to the top, having no concern of whom she hurts as she
“climbs the ladder”
towards stardom.
When Eve is caught
bowing in mirror with Margo’s dress
, Margo foolishly finds this endearing rather than threatening. Apparent to no one but the audience, Mankiewicz starts to reveal Eve’s true intentions and how she is more than willing to give up her opportunity at friendship to make her dreams become a reality.
As Eve’s innocent façade begins to crumble and the
fades, Margo starts to suspect Eve’s motives and question her supposed
“loyalty, devotion, warmth and affection”
. The audience becomes aware that Eve’s
“charming demeanour”
is just a cover for her malicious scheme to be a
. Mankiewicz suggests that a world where
“make believe”

is one to be cautious of.
Moreover, when Karen decision to give Margo a
“kick in the pants”
backfires, with the help of Addison DeWitt, Eve gets all the critiques to see that
“particular performance”
putting her in the spotlight with the critics
“shouting from the rooftops”
When Eve attempts to seduce Bill in Margo’s dressing room,
“Face it Bill. I have!”
, the audience can see how she is even willing to give up her dignity to become a
. Mankiewicz explores this desire that Eve has, and how it comes between her and
Mankiewicz displays her desire for the
“magic perfume”
of the theatre as fame begins to cloud her judgement. Eve’s twisting of reality to serve her ambitions is highlighted when in the ladies room at the Cub Room she overtly blackmails Karen, promising that if she can
“play Cora, Addison will never tell”
, threatening her
“deep, close friendship”
with Margo whilst also suggesting that her
“cheap trick”
could ruin the
Lloyd has in her.
Mankiewicz highlights the ease at which Eve manipulates those around her
“all for a part in a play”
, making the audience question the ruthless and conniving lengths that Eve strives for to achieve her
“one dream”
. Mankiewicz illustrates how in her hunger for fame, Eve has not only lost her friends and self-worth but also her dignity and integrity.
Eve’s desperate quest to become a
begins to make her confuse reality with
“make believe”
. The height of her obsessive climb to fame occurs when she gets her flatmate to call Lloyd and make up a story. Her helpless act gets Lloyd’s attention and he comforts her, unable to see what the
“little witch”
is plotting. While Eve thinks she has everyone wrapped around her finger, Addison, who is
“nobody’s fool”
, reveals Eve’s story and ultimately has complete control over her.
Once Eve achieves her fame and stardom, tired and alone, her accomplishments have left her hollow with no true friends. The
mis-en-scène of Phoebe in the multi-faceted mirror, holding Eve’s Sarah Siddons award
, is Mankiewicz’s impression of the cyclical nature of fame and how as one star rises another begins to
“climb the ladder.”
Eve’s move to centre stage of the theatre world, illustrates Mankiewicz’s comments on the shallow nature of the society and the inauthentic nature of their relationships.
the mis-en-scene where Eve receives the Sarah Siddon’s award, there is a musket pointing at her heart
. This deliberate placement is Mankiewicz’s way of demonstrating the consequences of Eve’s actions and how those who know the truth do not admire her success.
Margo’s journey begins with her in a state of delusion. Her inner circle of friends believe they are
“Gods and Goddesses”
, boosting Margo’s ego and her sense of purpose. She labels her fans as
“juvenile delinquents”
“autograph feigns”
suggesting her higher status as the
of the theatre world makes her superior to her gushing admirers. Margo’s conceited behaviour clouds her judgement and she struggles to distinguish reality from life
“on stage”
At Bill’s surprise party Margo’s delusions make her sacrifice her dignity as she shamelessly sits at the piano, drunkenly demanding
to be played on repeat. Eve’s little schemes caused Margo to become self-conscious and condescending towards her. Margo’s defensive behaviour was clear when she suggested a
when Eve was asked for a drink. The
atmosphere of the party was evident from the very beginning when Margo announced
“it’s going to be a bumpy night”

After her

performance at the party, Margo attempts to make amends in the car with Karen and Lloyd. At this point Margo feels she has lost her integrity and all that is left are
“the remains of Margo Channing”
. With the audience aware that Karen’s
“kick in the pants”
is going to prevent Margo from getting to the show, they are made to sympathise with Margo’s miserable interlude. Mankiewicz indicates this scene as Margo’s boot in the rear to keep her in touch with reality and allows her to regain some semblance of dignity and integrity in per personal life.
As Eve
“climbs the ladder”
to stardom Margo is left with what Eve no longer possesses, friends. Even though she chose to go on tour with the show, she exclaims she has
“never been so happy”
. With Lloyd and Karen as her loyal friends again and Bill by her side Margo is content with her life. Yet even here Mankiewicz critiques the gender expectations that for women to be truly happy, they need
“look up at six o’clock and there he’ll be”
Full transcript