Top Fifty Films of the 50s — Number Nine

#9 — All About Eve (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1950) Margo Channing, played by Bette Davis, is responding to a direct question. The tension in the room is stirred and the temperature is rising. She’s asked if the darts she’s already been hurling represent the end or the beginning of her charged activity for the evening. She throws back her cocktail, strides purposefully away from her group, pausing one step up the stairwell to turn back and advise, curdled smile on her lips, “Fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.” It is the sort of perfect line … Continue reading Top Fifty Films of the 50s — Number Nine

Cromwell, Helgeland, LeRoy, Lupino, Mankiewicz

Sleuth (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1972). This first film version of Anthony Shaffer’s play made it to screens a mere two years after the original work’s New York premiere. Given the cunning narrative duplicity at work in the story, it’s no wonder there was a rush to adapt it before the many secrets contained therein could ripple too far from the theatrical community. But deceptions that work onstage don’t necessarily bear up to the closer scrutiny of the camera, and that itself can intrude upon the necessary suspension of disbelief given the characters are able to investigate with even greater intimacy. … Continue reading Cromwell, Helgeland, LeRoy, Lupino, Mankiewicz