DVD: Age Cannot Wither, Nor Custom Stale, All About Eve

BetteDavis_AllAboutEve225.jpgSome movies are deadly accurate about capturing the way people really talk while others have an ear for how we wish everyone spoke all the time. And you can definitely sign me up for a world where the quips fly as fast, and the bitchery is as crisp, as in All About Eve (Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment). Sixty years after this Broadway-backstage comedy-drama snagged a Best Picture Oscar, it remains a sterling example of American movies at their smartest and most entertaining.

Bette Davis delivers one of her signature performances as Margo Channing, the Broadway diva who's hitting her 40th birthday and feeling vulnerable about it -- perfect timing for the entrance of devoted fan Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter), who quickly becomes Margo's confidant and gal Friday. But is there more to Eve than is immediately apparent?

All About Eve comes overstuffed with quotable lines -- much of them maliciously purred by Oscar-winner George Sanders as theater critic and, in the words of one character, "venomous fishwife" Addison DeWitt -- delivered with exquisite theatricality. Most of us learn to avoid the drama-generators in our lives, but spending a couple hours with this group of neurotic actors, playwrights, critics, and directors is a ball.

This snazzy new edition comes bound in a hardback book that features lots of illustrations, bios of the key players, and a bit of history about the film itself, while the DVD boasts two commentary tracks (recorded for an earlier edition), several docs on writer-director Joseph L. Mankiewicz, and lots more.

in an era where both snappy banter and strong women in the movies seem harder to come by, All About Eve just keeps looking better.