(Written & Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz) (1950)
This curlicued lass, Eve (Anne Baxter) shows her pathological ambition to act from a mile away, but the Theatre Folk are too wrapped-up in themselves to notice. Margot (Bette Davis) notices all right, but too late.
Addison DeWitt gets it immediately though; he’s a critic after The Varnished Culture’s heart (soft-hearted though he is), and he is prepared to help the fledgling, albeit at a very high ticket price.
This is the granddaddy of bitchy theatre films, a wall of highly-strung wit that both diminishes a film like Birdman yet makes that inferior piece possible. It features two performances that vindicate film in general: Bette Davis as the star descending, and George Sanders as DeWitt, self-described as “an improbable person…[with] contempt for humanity and inability to love and be loved, insatiable ambition, and talent.”