Tuesday, December 17, 2013

All About "All About Eve"

2001 update from 2000, this edition from St. Martin's Griffin
Sam Staggs
All About "All About Eve":  The Complete Behind-the-Scenes Story of the Bitchiest Film Ever Made
Bought new for $15.95
Worn paperback

This is similar to Aljean Harmetz's 1977 Wizard of Oz book, focusing as it does on one classic movie that was the highlight of many careers.  I didn't grow up watching All About Eve of course, in fact I think I was in my 30s before I saw it.  But the first time I did, I thought it was one of the wittiest movies ever.  I don't know about bitchiest, but Staggs definitely writes from a middle-aged gay man's perspective.  There's certainly queer content in the film, although obviously there's a lot of straight content, too, with Bette Davis and Gary Merrill blurring with their characters, and Marilyn Monroe making a very memorable appearance.  The book is basically a long, sometimes repetitive, but almost always fascinating love letter to not just this movie, but Old Hollywood.  I'm also using the "literary criticism" tag because Staggs has quite a bit about the short story that inspired the film.

I'm going with the 2001 update rather than the original copyright, because it includes, among other things, Celeste Holm's reaction to Staggs's opinions.  She was the only surviving cast member (she died last year) and refused to be interviewed for the book, and yes, she and Staggs are pretty bitchy about each other.

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