Follow us on:


 

 



 

 

RSS Feed to all our Blu-ray Reviews

 

ALL ABOUT EVE

Fasten your seat belts; it's going to be a bumpy night!
-- Bette Davis as Margo Channing

Nominated for fourteen Academy Awards and the winner of six, there is very little one can say about ALL ABOUT EVE ($35) that hasn’t already been said- countless times. Therefore it is quite possible that there will be a sense of familiarity running through this review of the Academy Award Winning Best Picture of 1950. Without a doubt, ALL ABOUT EVE is one of the smartest and best-written films in the history of the cinema. Much of multi-Oscar winning writer/director Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s witty, acid tongued dialogue simply crackles, resonating in one’s mind before inducing a sharp, biting laugh. Of course, there is a possibility that the dialogue might not have flown quite so high had it not been for the pitch perfect delivery of the film’s accomplished cast, especially Bette Davis and George Sanders. Bette Davis was seldom better than in her Oscar Nominated role as Broadway diva Margo Channing. Then again, neither was Oscar Winner George Sanders as the venomous theater critic Addison DeWitt.

The plot of ALL ABOUT EVE tells one all about Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter), a star struck fan of Margo Channing, who ingratiates herself into the life of the aging Broadway actress. At first, Eve seems like the perfect employee, always ready, willing and eager to meet all of Margo’s needs- including those she didn’t know she had. However, Margo begins to suspect that Eve is too good to be true, and when it is seemingly too late, everyone discovers that Eve was in truth a master manipulator, who took everyone in Margo’s circle of friends for a ride they won’t soon forget. The sublime cast of ALL ABOUT EVE also features Celeste Holm, Gary Merrill, Hugh Marlowe, Gregory Ratoff, Barbara Bates, Marilyn Monroe and Thelma Ritter.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has made ALL ABOUT EVE available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.37:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. ALL ABOUT EVE has been given a truly sublime 1080p black and white presentation on Blu-ray. This is the absolute best I have ever seen ALL ABOUT EVE look in any home medium. The image is very silky and ever so slightly diffuse, which is just about what one should expect from a film made during an era when glamour cinematography reigned supreme. Still, sharpness and image detail are far superior to everything that has come before. Beautiful film grain is ever present, and complements the other textures in the image. Blacks are pitch perfect, while the whites are pure. Contrast and grayscale are superb. The elements from which ALL ABOUT EVE has been transferred appear to have been digitally scrubbed of almost all signs of age, without any compromise to the film’s grain structure.

ALL ABOUT EVE is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. As ALL ABOUT EVE is beyond its sixtieth anniversary, it is fair to say that it does not sound like a brand new film. However, for a film of its vintage, the Academy Award winning sound comes across as surprisingly spry. The lossless encode makes the most of the sound elements, with Alfred Newman’s score reaping the largest benefit. Newman’s Oscar nominated music comes across as more robust than I ever remember it sounding. Most signs of background hiss and noise have been cleaned up in the mastering process, which leaves a generally smooth quality to the soundtrack. Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s Oscar winning dialogue is always crystal clear and smacks of character, thanks to a cast comprised largely of Oscar nominated/winning talent. An English monaural track, along with Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 and French DTS 5.1 tracks have also been provided. Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish.

A touch of animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a nice body of supplements, many of which have been ported over from the DVD release. Starting things off are two running Audio Commentaries included on the Blu-ray Disc; the first is with the director’s son Christopher Mankiewicz, actress Celeste Holm, and Mankiewicz biographer Kenneth Geist, while the second features author Sam Staggs, who wrote All About All About Eve. Both commentaries are very interesting and cover the production of the film and personalities involved in detail. However, on the first track, Holm is heard from very little and this particular commentary might have been a bit more cohesive if all three parties had been recorded together. An Isolated Music Track featuring Alfred Newman’s Oscar-nominated score is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. Another supplemental highlight is the AMC Backstory: All About Eve, a twenty-four minute program that offers another look back on the making of this Academy Award winning classic. Featurettes and other programs include the following: Directed By Joseph Mankiewicz (twenty six minutes), A Personal Journey (twenty six minutes), The Real Eve (eighteen minutes) and The Secret Of Sarah Siddons (seven minutes). Two Promotional Shorts with Bette Davis and Ann Baxter are also provided, as are four MovieTone News Clips pertaining to ALL ABOUT EVE. A Theatrical Trailer closes out the standard supplements. ALL ABOUT EVE features book styled packaging that contains twenty-eight pages of photos and production notes.

ALL ABOUT EVE remains one of the sharpest, most intelligent and entertaining films ever made; after all it does still hold the record for the most Academy Award nominations, fourteen, a feat that has only been equaled by TITANIC. The Blu-ray presentation bests everything that has come before by a wide margin and is a must own disc. Absolutely recommended.

 


All About Eve [Blu-ray] (1950)

.

DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright 2011 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

Add to My Yahoo!  Add to Google  RSS Feed & Share Links