Jerry Caesar reviews Marilyn’s show-stopping turn in All About Eve (1950):
“Bette Davis is the practised end of the spectrum and while Eve – as the alleged ingenue, all innocence and eagerness – should be her opposite pole, the most striking counterpoint comes from a short appearance by Marilyn Monroe. Then around 24, Monroe is a young actress on the make, and the moment she’s on the screen you stop looking at Davis. Now that’s power, and Davis must have known it.”
All About Eve, Joe Mankiewicz’s classic satire starring Bette Davis, and featuring a glorious cameo by the young MM as an ambitious but empty-headed starlet, is playing at The JCC in Manhattan from today until Tuesday.
Marilyn comes in 3rd, after Orson Welles and Humphrey Bogart, on this list from Screen Junkies. Along with Bette Davis, she is the only woman on the list – and she appeared in All About Eve alongside Davis, as well as Cary Grant (Monkey Business), Groucho Marx (Love Happy), and her idol, Clark Gable, in The Misfits – the last film either completed.
“There were many early Hollywood sex symbols, but Marilyn Monroe brought sexy to a whole new level. Her most famous movies were Niagara (1953), Some Like it Hot (1959) and Seven Year Itch (1955).”
All About Eve, the 1950 classic featuring Marilyn in a small role, is now available on Blu-Ray.
“I should also make a note of Marilyn Monroe, who makes a delightful impression in one of her early roles. It’s a small part, but the actress has never been better; Monroe delivers every line with such giddy comic perfection (‘Why do they always look like unhappy rabbits?’)”
Full details of the All About Eve package at DVD Verdict
As part of the Fasten Your Seatbelts: 75 Years of Fox weekend at NYC’s Lincoln Center Film Society, newly restored prints of Niagara and All About Eve are showing this Sunday, September 5, at 1.35 and 3.30 pm.
“Marilyn Monroe was the inspiration for the expression ‘arm candy’, which refers to any woman who decorates the arm of a man – to the envy of other men who see them together. Chicago journalist Marcia Froelke Coburn was commenting on Monroe’s appearance on the arm of actor George Sanders in the film All About Eve in a column in the early 1990s when she coined the phrase.”
Marilyn played an aspiring actress, Claudia Caswell, in the classic movie.
“(ARM kan.dee) n. An extremely beautiful person who accompanies a member of the opposite sex to a party or event, but is not romantically involved with that person (cf. eye candy).
‘All About Eve’ (1950, FoxVideo). [Marilyn Monroe had] already had mini-roles in eight movies when she turned up as George Sanders’ arm candy in the party scenes of this film. But her jewel of a performance as an actress-on-the-make caught the public’s attention.
—Marcia Froelke Coburn, ‘Marilyn’s enduring appeal’,Chicago Tribune, August 21, 1992″
Coburn’s essay was a review of a VHS movie collection, and her comments on Marilyn’s acting were sensitive and insightful.
“As time goes by, she appears more gifted than we knew. Not that this is always apparent in her movies. More often than not, she was miscast, badly used or even made fun of (she was the original blond joke). When she shines, it is sometimes by default.”
You can read Marcia Froelke Coburn’s article in full here