All About the Zippy One-Liners (2 mins)

Sometimes I feel like watching a movie that cannot hide behind flashy CGI and the hype of modern media. One such film I saw recently was the 1950 classic All About Eve. It’s the story of an ageing actress Margo (played by Bette Davis) and an ambitious fan Eve, who entangles herself in Margo’s life. It also features an Oscar-winning performance by George Sanders, who plays the theatre critic Addison. What’s amazing about the movie is its zippy and extremely sophisticated script which hasn’t aged at all. I cannot think of many movies with better dialogue. Here are of some of the memorable lines:

On men and women

MARGO:  Don’t get stuck on some glamour puss-

BILL:  I’ll try.

MARGO: You’re not such a bargain, you know, conceited and            thoughtless and messy-

MARGO:  Bill’s thirty-two. He looks thirty  two. He looked it five years ago,  he’ll look it twenty years from now. I hate men.

MARGO:…funny business, a woman’s career. The things you drop on your way up the ladder, so you can move faster. You forget you’ll need them again when you go back to being a woman. That’s one career all females have  in common – whether we like it or not – being a woman.  Sooner or later we’ve all got to work at it, no matter what other careers we’ve had or wanted…

On selfishness

ADDISON: We all come into this world with our little egos equipped with individual horns. If we don’t blow them – who will?

ADDISON: We have that in common. Also a contempt for humanity, an inability to love or be loved, insatiable ambition – and talent. We deserve each other

ADDISON: The mark of a true killer. Sleep tight, rest easy – and come out fighting…

On actors

ADDISON: The distinguished looking gentleman is an extremely old actor. Being an actor – he will go on speaking for some time. It is not important what you hear what he says.

ADDISON:It is senseless to insist that  theatrical folk in New York, Hollywood and London are no different from the good people of Des Moines, Chillicothe and Liverpool. By and large, we are concentrated gatherings of neurotics, egomaniacs, emotional misfits, and precocious children…

MARGO:  All the religions in the world rolled into one, and we’re Gods and Goddesses… isn’t it silly, suddenly I’ve developed a big protective feeling for her – a lamb loose in our big stone jungle…

MARGO:  In this rat race, everybody’s guilty till they’re proved innocent! One of the differences between the Theater and  civilization…

On producers:

ADDISSON:There are two types of theatrical producers. One has a great many wealthy friends who will risk a tax  deductible loss. This type is  interested in Art. The other is one to whom each  production mean potential ruin of fortune. This type is out to make a buck.

On San Francisco

ADDISON: San Francisco. An oasis of civilization in the California desert.

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