In this movie, there are three very strong female leads, the aspects of the Goddess or the Woman, so to speak. There is Margot, in the aspect of Crone, her best friend playing aspect of Wife and Mother, and of course, Eve, playing the young nubile beauty.
It's a movie which takes the personality of all women and lays it neatly down like cards.
I adore Margot. Her old confusion, her wild nobility, stark honesty, calculated strength and loveliness of form. Bette Davis does a wonderful job. Margot is loveable and breathtaking, as she should be. She draws good people to her side and keeps them.
Her best friend Karen is "a lovely woman" at its very best and sweetest, the loveliness in truth that all women secretly wish they were. The sweetest of friends, the best of dames, very Jane Eyre. And yet, she is a victim and child forever because of her sweetness, with young Eve always taking her in. Margot is not just a friend--they need each other. Margot to protect, Karen to nurture.
Eve herself is not only embodying the promise of a young woman, but the deceitfulness and foolishness of her namesake. She needs no one because she plays sweetness and light along with stealth and cruelty. She lays them down beside each other and asks no forgiveness, only instantaneous surrender. George Sanders's Addison DeWitt was the perfect foil for such a woman, and yet I can't believe he still wanted her. What on earth did he see in her????
|Bette Davis||...||Margo Channing|
|Anne Baxter||...||Eve Harrington|
|George Sanders||...||Addison DeWitt|
|Celeste Holm||...||Karen Richards|
|Gary Merrill||...||Bill Sampson|
|Hugh Marlowe||...||Lloyd Richards|
|Gregory Ratoff||...||Max Fabian|
|Marilyn Monroe||...||Miss Caswell|
Margo Channing: Bill's thirty-two. He looks thirty-two. He looked it five years ago, he'll look it twenty years from now. I hate men.
Margo Channing: Funny business, a woman's career, the things you drop on the way up the ladder so you can move faster. You forget you'll need them again when you get back to being a woman. It's one career all females have in common - being a woman. Sooner or later we've got to work at it no matter how many other careers we've had or wanted. And in the last analysis nothing is any good unless you can look up just before dinner or turn around in bed and there he is. Without that you're not a woman. You're something with a French provincial office or a book full of clippings but you're not a woman. Slow curtain, the end.
Birdie: What a story! Everything but the bloodhounds snappin' at her rear end.
Addison DeWitt: What do you take me for?
Eve Harrington: I don't know that I'd take you for anything.
Addison DeWitt: I'm Addison DeWitt. I'm nobody's fool, least of all yours.
[a butler passes by]
Miss Claudia Caswell: Oh, waiter!
Addison DeWitt: That is not a waiter, my dear, that is a butler.
Miss Claudia Caswell: Well, I can't yell "Oh butler!" can I? Maybe somebody's name is Butler.
Addison DeWitt: You have a point. An idiotic one, but a point.
Miss Claudia Caswell: I don't want to make trouble. All I want is a drink.
Max Fabian: Leave it to me. I'll get you one.
Miss Claudia Caswell: Thank you, Mr. Fabian.
Addison DeWitt: Well done! I can see your career rise in the east like the sun.
Margo Channing: Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night!
Addison DeWitt: You're maudlin and full of self-pity. You're magnificent!
Margo Channing: I'll admit I may have seen better days, but I'm still not to be had for the price of a cocktail, like a salted peanut.
Lloyd Richards: How about calling it a night?
Margo Channing: And you, pose as a playwright? A situation pregnant with possibilities and all you can think of is everybody go to sleep.
Addison DeWitt: [voiceover] Margo Channing is a star of the theater. She made her stage debut at the age of four in "Midsummer Night's Dream," playing a fairy. She entered, quite unexpectedly, stark naked. She has been a star ever since.
Bill Sampson: Have you no human consideration?
Margo Channing: Show me a human, and I might have!
Margo Channing: Heartburn? It's that Miss Caswell. I don't see why she hasn't given Addison heartburn.
Bill Sampson: No heart to burn!
Margo Channing: Everybody has a heart - except some people.
Margo Channing: I detest cheap sentiment.
Addison DeWitt: Too bad, we're gonna miss the third act. They're gonna play it offstage.
Addison DeWitt: While you wait you can read my column. It'll make minutes fly like hours.
Lloyd Richards: A Hollywood movie star just arrived.
Eve Harrington: I will regard this great honor not so much as an award for what I have achieved, but a standard to hold against what I have yet to accomplish.
Lloyd Richards: That bitter cynicism of yours is something you've acquired since you left Radcliffe!
Karen Richards: The cynicism you refer to, I acquired the day I discovered I was different from little boys!
Bill Sampson: We have to go to City Hall for the marriage license and blood test.
Margo Channing: I'd marry you if it turned out you had no blood at all.
Addison DeWitt: That I should want you at all suddenly strikes me as the height of improbability... you're an improbable person, Eve, but so am I. We have that in common. Also a contempt for humanity, an inability to love or be loved, insatiable ambition - and talent. We deserve each other.
Birdie: The bed looks like a dead animal act.
Addison DeWitt: My name is Addison DeWitt. My native habitat is the theater. In it I toil not, neither do I spin. I am a critic and commentator. I am essential to the theatre - as ants to a picnic, as the boll weevil to a cotton field.
Miss Claudia Caswell: Tell me this, do they have auditions for television?
Addison DeWitt: That's, uh, all television is, my dear, nothing but auditions.
Margo Channing: Heaven help me. I love a psychotic!
Margo Channing: Lovely speech, Eve. But I wouldn't worry so much about your heart. You can always put that award where your heart ought to be.
[Bill is saying goodbye to Birdie as he departs for Hollywood]
Bill Sampson: What should I tell Tyrone Power for you?
Birdie: Just give him my phone number; I'll tell him myself.
[on theatrical producers]
Claudia Caswell: Why do they always look like unhappy rabbits?
Lloyd Richards: I shall never understand the weird process by which a body with a voice suddenly fancies itself as a mind. Just when exactly does an actress decide they're HER words she's speaking and HER thoughts she's expressing?
Margo Channing: Usually at the point where she has to rewrite and rethink them, to keep the audience from leaving the theatre!
Lloyd Richards: What makes you think either Miller or Sherwood would stand for the nonsense I take from you? You'd better stick to Beaumont and Fletcher! They've been dead for three hundred years!
Margo Channing: ALL playwrights should be dead for three hundred years!
Lloyd Richards: There comes a time that a piano realizes that it has not written a concerto.
Margo Channing: And you, I take it, are the Paderewski who plays his concerto on me, the piano?
Margo Channing: I'm a junkyard.
Margo Channing: So many people know me. I wish I did. I wish someone would tell me about me.
Karen Richards: Where were we going that night, Lloyd and I? Funny, the things you remember and the things you don't.
Bill Sampson: What book of rules says that theatre exists only within some ugly buildings crowded into one square-mile of New York City? Or London, Paris, or Vienna?
Bill Sampson: Don't cry. Just score it as an incomplete forward pass.
Addison DeWitt: We're a breed apart. We're the original displaced persons.
Addison DeWitt: There never was, and there never will be, another like you.
Addison DeWitt: You could sleep now, couldn't you? The mark of a true killer.
Eve Harrington: It's not modesty. I just don't try to kid myself.
Addison DeWitt: A revolutionary approach to the Theater.
[throwing door open]
Eve Harrington: Get out.
Addison DeWitt: You're too short for that gesture.
Eve Harrington: I won't play tonight. I couldn't, not possibly. I couldn't go on.
Addison DeWitt: Couldn't go on? You'll give the performance of your life.
Margo Channing: You bought the new girdles a size smaller, I can feel it.
Birdie: Something maybe grew a size larger.
Margo Channing: When we get home you're going to get into one of those girdles and act for two and a half hours.
Birdie: I couldn't get into the girdle in two and a half hours.
Margo Channing: Don't get up. And please stop acting as if I were the queen mother.
Margo Channing: You are in a beehive, pal. Didn't you know? We are all busy little bees, full of stings, making honey day and night. Aren't we honey?
Lloyd Richards: You've been talking to that venomous fishwife Addison DeWitt!
Margo Channing: In this case, apparently as trustworthy as the World Almanac!
Margo Channing: And you, I take it, are the Paderewski who plays his concerto on me, the piano?
Bill Sampson: You have every reason for happiness.
Margo Channing: Except happiness!
Bill Sampson: You know, there isn't a playwright in the world who could make me believe this would happen between two adult people. Goodbye, Margo.
Margo Channing: Bill? Where are you going? To find Eve?
Bill Sampson: That suddenly makes the whole thing believable.
Bill Sampson: I start shooting a week from Monday. Zanuck is impatient. He wants me, he needs me.
Margo Channing: Zanuck, Zanuck, Zanuck. What are you two, lovers?
Llyod Richards: I understand that your understudy, Miss Harrington, has given her notice.
Margo Channing: Too bad.
Bill Sampson: I'm broken up about it.
Margo Channing: [in front of her boyfriend, Bill] I love you, Max. I really mean it. I love you. Come to the pantry.
Max Fabian: [to Bill] She loves me like a father. Also, she's loaded.
Lloyd Richards: The atmosphere is very MacBeth-ish... what has, or is about to, happen?
Addison DeWitt: Miss Casswell is an actress, a graduate of the Copacabana School of Dramatic Art.
Margo Channing: Birdie, you don't like Eve, do you?
Birdie: You looking for an answer or an argument?
Margo Channing: An answer.
Margo Channing: Why not?
Birdie: Now you want an argument.
Bill Sampson: Wherever there's magic and make-believe and an audience, there's theatre.
Karen Richards: Nothing is forever in the Theatre. Whatever it is, it's here, it flares up, burns hot and then its gone.
Margo Channing: Lloyd, honey, be a playwright with guts. Write me one about a nice normal woman who just shoots her husband.
Eve Harrington: I'll never forget this night as long as I live, and I'll never forget you for making it possible.
Margo Channing: As it happens, there are particular aspects of my life to which I would like to maintain sole and exclusive rights and privileges.
Bill Sampson: For instance what?
Margo Channing: For instance: you!
Margo Channing: You're not much of a bargain, you know. You're conceited and thoughtless and messy.
Addison DeWitt: We all come into this world with our little egos equipped with individual horns. If we don't blow them, who else will?
Lloyd Richards: There are very few moments in life as good as this. Let's remember it. To each of us and all of us, never have we been more close, may we never be farther apart.
Eve Harrington: When you're a secretary in a brewery, it's pretty hard to make-believe you're anything else. Everything is beer.
Margo Channing: [to Bill] You be the host. It's your party. Happy birthday, welcome home, and we who are about to die salute you.
Llyod Richards: You knew when you came in that the audition was over, that Eve was your understudy, playing that childish little game of cat and mouse.
Margo Channing: Not mouse, never mouse. If anything *rat*!
Bill Sampson: I don't agree, Addison.
Addison DeWitt: That happens to be your particular abnormality.
[Margo is getting drunk at the party]
Bill Sampson: Many of your guests have been wondering when they may be permitted to view the body. Where has it been laid out?
Margo Channing: It hasn't been laid out, we haven't finished with the embalming. As a matter of fact, you're looking at it - the remains of Margo Channing, sitting up. It is my last wish to be buried sitting up.
Birdie: There's a message from the bartender. Does Miss Channing know she ordered domestic gin by mistake?
Margo Channing: The only thing I ordered by mistake is the guests. They're domestic, too, and they don't care what they drink as long as it burns!
Bill Sampson: Real diamonds in a wig, the world we live in.
Addison DeWitt(to Eve as he gets fed up with her): Is it possible, is it even conceivable, that you've confused me with that gang of backward children you play tricks on?