Screenwriter Paul Attanasio, left, is particularly fond of Bette Davis in All About Eve.
All About Eve is one of the great Hollywood classics, an insider's look at the theater world that treated audiences to Bette Davis at the height of her haughtiness. Joseph Mankiewicz won the 1950 Oscar for best screenplay and best director for it. And the film also has one of screenwriter Paul Attanasio's favorite scenes, as he tells NPR's Susan Stamberg.
Paul Attanasio was Joe Mankiewicz's last protege. His films include Quiz Show, based on the TV scandal of the 1950s, and Donnie Brasco, which starred Al Pacino. He also co-created Homicide: Life on the Street for NBC.
Attanasio says he loves the efficient storyline of All About Eve. The movie features Bette Davis as aging Broadway star Margo Channing, with Gary Merrill as Bill, her younger director and lover. Into Margo's life comes Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter), a young predator who wants to replace Margo.
The movie has well-paced scenes and tight, snappy dialogue — and Attanasio says it's all on display in the moments before Margo's cocktail party begins, and Davis utters her famous line, "Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night."