#3 'Mankiewicz's film, All About Eve explores what people are willing to sacrifice for fame.' Discuss.
Immediate brainstorm about what people sacrifice:
- Identity (off-stage)
- Relationships – friendships, partner (husband/wife)
- Being a woman – a mother – a wife; feminine qualities
- Fame/celebrity status comes at a price. It is fleeting and temporary; hard won and easily lost to the next Eve/Phoebe who is waiting in the wings.
BP1 – Ideas: (YES)
Those who are prepared to sacrifice their values/morality and are prepared to grab the prize no matter the method/measures taken to achieve this. They demonstrate an unscrupulous manner; some might say even Machiavellian (look him up, as this is a good way to describe Eve).
- These “people” are prepared to blackmail, lie, manipulate; even reinvent themselves – and as Karen says to Eve, “You’d do all that to get a part in the play?” and Eve responds …..she’d do all that and more…..
- This could be an Eve and Addison paragraph.
- You could add Phoebe to this too.
- Another thought could be Miss Caswell – in that she is prepared to flaunt/use her physical features to climb the ladder of success – you could argue that this involves compromising one’s values/morality
BP2 – Ideas: (YES)
Those who let go of their identity and become lost in the world of the theatre. This sacrifice might also include putting a relationship on hold. Challenging friendships, as well as working relationships.
- Who is Margo Channing off stage?
- Margo’s relationships with Karen, Lloyd and Bill. Birdie too.
- Along the similar lines of identity, this paragraph could also explore one’s loss of femininity. To be someone/make them like you/be successful, women had to sacrifice their feminine qualities in order to succeed in the “stone jungle”.
BP3 – Ideas: (HOWEVER)
- Whilst individuals made many sacrifices along the way to success, it was possible for some to eventually step away from fame and find complete fulfilment through happiness and love.
- In the world of the 1950’s where many people were chasing the ‘American Dream’, it becomes apparent that sacrifices were far greater for females compared to the men.
- Addison, Lloyd, Bill and even Max Fabian continue to maintain the power and control over their women.
#4 'All About Eve demonstrates that achieving success in the theatre is only "nine tenths hard work". Discuss.
BP1 – Ideas: (YES)
- Mankiewicz suggests that those who enter the “native habitat” of the theatre must do so through “sweat, application and hard work”. A person must be dedicated and persevere in this cut-throat world, where people are required to be strong, assertive and to “sharpen their fangs” when needed.
- Longevity in the theatre requires “hard work” and commitment to your craft – Margo is a “true star” and has been so since the age of four.
- Look at the numerous wild life/animal references such as:
* “snake pit”
* “rat race”
* “a lamb loose in the jungle”
* “busy little bees making honey day and night”
- Look at Bill’s philosophy on the theatre during the stair scene and conversation with Addison.
- Birdie – a true Vaudevillian who has worked hard in the theatre.
BP2 – Ideas: (HOWEVER)
- There are those in the theatre who revert to being ruthless, cunning and manipulative in order to achieve their success (the last line of the film spoken by Addison to Phoebe captures this perfectly when he says “You must ask Eve all about it/how to get one”)
- For some, the darker side of human nature is exposed when driven by fame and ambition. This is true of Eve as she exposes her duplicitous, deceitful nature and is prepared to lie, blackmail and manipulate others to get her prize. Yet the point that Mankiewicz makes here, is that fame and fulfilment can be fleeting and whilst success might be rewarding it can in fact be a double edged sword, as it can leave an individual hollow, isolated and unhappy – look at Eve in the final scene.
BP3 – Ideas: (HOWEVER)
- Success for women does not last, no matter how hard one works, as longevity in the theatre is difficult to maintain, particular as a woman. It becomes apparent that women clearly have a shelf life; unlike the “ageless” men. Look at Margo.
- Men can achieve and maintain their fame/success/power more easily, whilst women have to work harder. Look at the writer, director, producer and critic. It seems as though nothing can stand in their way.
- In the patriarchal society of the 1950s, Mankiewicz exposes the misguided belief that individuals, especially women, possess some form of control in their pursuit of success. It becomes evident that women retain little control over their professional lives regardless of how much they put in. You could look at Miss Caswell who is controlled by Addison and diverts her career to television.
- In some instances, the women who become successful are ultimately controlled by men. Addison’s control over Eve – “You belong to me.” That success is maintained by the men.