No other writer-director has duplicated Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s feat of winning Oscars in both categories two years running — for “A Letter To Three Wives” (1949) and “All About Eve” (1950), which set the standard for most nominations with 14, including five for acting.
“Eve” is not only the ultimate backstage story, a delicious portrait of connivance and complicity in the world of the theater, it also showcases the kind of witty, sophisticated dialogue that was Mankiewicz’s trademark. Four of the women were Oscar nominated (Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, Celeste Home and Thelma Ritter) and a fifth (Marilyn Monroe) used the film as a launching pad for a legendary career. Though the competition meant none of them won, the ensemble work they did is its own kind of legend. Co-star George Sanders did win one of the film’s six Oscars for supporting actor.
See the film that caused the fuss on a big screen near you on March 5 and 8 at 2 and 7 p.m. as part of the TCM Big Screen Classics Series presented by Fathom Events (www.fathomevents.com).