The Official AFI 100 Movies Nights was formally inaugurated by Miss Alice and the Mad Hatter last night. Our goal is to watch the one hundred movies that the American Film Institute has classified as the best of American cinema, under the hopes that we can both cross this item out of the 100 things we want to do before we die. It started rather clumsily, with no chronological order or the presence of the other movie junkies that have expressed their interest in joining the intelligent Popcorn Crowd (porque en español la gente cotufera suena a Legally Blonde). Nonetheless, we decided to roll down the silver screen in hopes of withstanding the weekly tradition, garnering more interested crowds, and talking about the films merits after having watched it (positively or negatively), until we’ve seen them all (or I get sent to a nursing home).With Miss Alice, Miss Rigby and the rear view window charm Chiquihuiqui on board (and C-E-S-A-R hastily ringing phones) we sat down to watch “All About Eve”. Starring Bette Davis and Anne Baxter, the black and white film tells the story about an ambitious young woman (Baxter) who manipulates her way into the world of theater’s greatest star (Davis), and ultimately tries to take her place (and just about everything else). A story about deceit and betrayal, masterfully choreographed by a striking dialogue and ever witty lines which, not only make you laugh at times (the character Birdie is hysterical) but make you ponder on the things people will do and the things they will trample upon to get to the top of their careers. Nominated for 14 Academy Awards in 1950, (the record maintained until it tied with the same number for Titanic), the picture stands a testament of time for its wittiness, its strong portrayals of characters and its ending moral: “what goes along, comes along”. If not only, as we pointed out, for being Marilyn Monroe’s first film.
The Popcorn Crowd liked it tremendously (Bdark fell asleep but she’s just dark) noting the concerns over age and over triumph that surround the two main characters. Although crisp and clean, as most Hollywood films of the era portrayed their characters (posh, poised and sleeping on two separate beds due to the Hayes Censor’s Code), the acidity of the screenplay, especially by the theater columnist Addison de Witt, struck Miss Alice and I on the writings of our blogs. What would it feel like to write a column? To have that critical power and to believe, as de Witt says it, that one’s writing is “essential to the theater”? Then again, the s/m sub context at the end of the film proves best, that venom and acid certainly stir martini drinks and nothing (or no one) is obvious at a first glance. Least of all the mousy types. So we best stay away from it for a while and stick to movie watching. Lest, we strike up one of the earlier lines of the picture: “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.”
To all who know us and wish to join, we hope to see you at our next movie nite.-
Miss Alice: “¡De verdad que Bette Davis era bellisima!”
Mad Hatter: “That is Anne Baxter, dear” (very Addison de Witt of me!).