I am always a little intrigued by films about cinema: the inward-looking eye, the self-criticism (more often than not). From The Artist to Kaagaz ke Phool, there’s something about films like this that I usually find appealing: perhaps because they offer a glimpse, even if unsavoury, into what lies beyond what one is currently viewing.
All About Eve isn’t about cinema; it’s about a related art, theatre (but there are nods here, aplenty, to cinema: there’s a passing reference to Zanuck—who produced All About Eve; and there are instances of people vying for a role, possibly even a career, in Hollywood). It’s about the ambition, the cut-throat competition, the fiercely burning desire to stay in the limelight—or to claw one’s way up there, in the first place.
The story begins at a glittering but exclusive awards night. This is the annual awards ceremony of the fictitious Sarah Siddons Society, and the who’s who of the theatre world is gathered here. While a boring veteran actor gives his speech, we are introduced, through a voiceover, to some of the characters attending this function. Characters, too, who play an important part in the story.
To begin with, there is Addison DeWitt (George Sanders), an influential journalist.