Cameron Kelsall: I guess it started back home. New Jersey, that is. The quiet, coastal part of the state, far from the glamorous shadow of New York City. As a child, I had an innate curiosity and hunger for a taste of life beyond the small fishing community in which I was raised. It mostly came through movies—and mostly, those movies were the kind you would find playing on public television in the afternoons, or the still-nascent TCM. I devoured them and came to revere the twinkling stars of the Golden Age the same way my peers worshipped Alanis Morissette. (I adore Alanis, but she’s no Susan Hayward.) I consumed as many of these movies I could, but one of the few experiences I’ll never forget is happening upon All About Eve, completely unexpected, and watching it rapt and breathless, as if time stopped. It felt as if everything I ever dreamed of in terms of wit, style and savoir-faire were contained within. It remains my favorite film.
David Fox: My favorite, too—and also my most formative. All About Eve taught me how to be gay. Maybe you think I’m exaggerating? Well, I didn’t pick it up from my parents, and I certainly didn’t learn it at James Madison Junior High School in Van Nuys, California. But I do know that somewhere around 7th or 8th grade, I discovered All About Eve, and understood what I needed in my voyage of self-discovery. Don’t get me wrong—it wasn’t instantaneous, and it took practice. But several dozen bumpy nights later, I truly arrived at the door into my own life, and I’ve never looked back. For this miraculous reinvention, I shed tears of joy. And I owe it all to Joseph Mankiewicz, Anne Baxter, Celeste Holm, Hugh Marlowe, Gary Merrill, Marilyn Monroe… and of course, the magnificent Bette Davis.
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Categories: Criticism, Movies, PARTERRE BOX
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