Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz.

All about Eve

*Written to coincide with “Directed by JLM” on The Criterion Collection.

Director of “All About Eve”

Director of “Cleopatra”

Producer of “The Philadelphia Story”

Producer of “Woman of the Year” and the man who introduced Katherine Hepburn to Spencer Tracy

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s boss at MGM

Younger brother of Herman “Hank” J. Mankiewicz”, alcoholic, legendary raconteur and the co-writer of “Citizen Kane”

All About Eve. JLM Rated. Criterion Collection.

One masterpiece (“All About Eve”) from the greatest screenplay ever written (by Manciewicz from Mary Orr’s short story “The Wisdom of Eve”). Showcasing the greatest, the most cherished, the most quoted and the most imitated performance by Hollywood’s greatest actress Bette Davis as Margo Channing. A+

There was a Crooked Man. JLM rated. Criteriona Collection

One very clever Western “There was A Crooked Man” featuring Hollywood’s first well-adjusted gay couple (well adjusted to jail in the Arizona territory circa 1883). They are beautifully played Hume Cronyn and John Randolph taking over from Bette Davis and Thelma Ritter. B

No Way Out. JLM Rated. Criterion Collection.

One efficient Fox Noir that marked the debut of Sidney Poitier (and both Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis in smaller roles)“No Way Out”. B

Julius Caesar. JLM Rated. The Criterion  Collection.

A solid but hardly triumphant adaptation of “Julius Caesar” with Marlon Brando and James Mason.(director for hire). B-

Guys and Dolls. JLM Rated. The Criterion Collection.,

A solid but hardly triumphant adaptation Frank Loesser’s “Guys and Dolls” (director for hire). B-

The Barefoot Contessa. JLM rated. The Criterion Collection.

One beautifully photographed movie (Jack Cardiff) totally lacking in style, “The Barefoot Contessa”. C+

The Five Fingers. JLM rated. Criterion Channel

One Moderately effective Fox espionage thriller “The Five Fingers”. C+

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. JLM Rated. Criterion Channel.

One Fox movie that is regarded by some (especially Gene Tierney fans) with affection, “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” C+

The Quiet American. JLM rated. Criterion Collection.

A solid but hardly imaginative and definitely not triumphant adaptation of Graham Greene’s “The Quiet American” C-

Several movies that were highly thought of in their day but now are nothing special:

A Letter to Three Wives. JLM Rated. The Criterion Collection

His double writer/director Oscar winner “A Letter to Three Wives” still looks great. However, what seemed innovative at the time – the letter being read by Celeste Holm informing Jeanne Craine, Linda Darnell and Ann Southern that she has just run away with one of their husbands – today feels like a reject from a daytime soap. C+

Sleuth. JLM Rated. The Criterion Collection.

“Sleuth” is not the sophisticated concoction it was in ‘72. C+

Suddenly Last Summer. JLM Rated. The Criterion Channel

The unfortunate and out-of-control Tennessee Williams adaption “Suddenly Last Summer” with a visibly ill Montgomery Clift and a poorly directed Elizabeth Taylor giving one of the most hysterical (and hysterically funny) monologues in Hollywood history. D+

Cleopatra. JLM Rated. The Criterion Collection.

Then, of course, there is “Cleopatra”. Taking over from Rouben Mamoulian was a terrible mistake that he was never allowed to forget. It broke him both physically and mentally. A disaster of enormous proportions, the terrible acting and dialogue (a lot of it written on the fly by Mankiewicz) together with those enormous sets and silly costumes and, of course, Roddy McDowell as Octavian, it can be enjoyed, in small portions, as camp. For that, and that alone, it gets a C.

That leaves “The Honey Pot” and all of the rest of the stuff from Fox stewing in mediocrity.

YearFilmDistributorMy
Rating
1946Dragonwyck20th Century FoxD+
1946Somewhere in the Night20th Century FoxD+
1947The Late George Apley20th Century FoxF
1947The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
20th Century FoxC+
1948Escape20th Century FoxD+
1949A Letter to Three Wives20th Century FoxC+
1949House of Strangers20th Century FoxC-
1950No Way Out20th Century FoxB
1950All About Eve20th Century FoxA+
1951People Will Talk20th Century FoxD
19525 Fingers20th Century FoxC+
1953Julius CaesarMetro-Goldwyn-MayerB-
1954The Barefoot ContessaFigaro/United ArtistsC+
1955Guys and DollsSamuel Goldwyn/ Metro-Goldwyn-MayerB-
1958The Quiet AmericanFigaro/United ArtistsC-
1959Suddenly, Last SummerColumbiaD+
1963Cleopatra20th Century FoxC
1967The Honey PotFamous Artists ProductionsD
1970There Was a Crooked ManWarner Bros.B
1972SleuthPalomar PicturesC+

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