In 1950, Bette Davis was a highly-regarded actress. But she was starting to be viewed as an “aging” actress and her career seemed to be fading.
That year, the multitalented writer, producer and director Joseph L. Mankiewicz gave Bette a plum role in a film that helped revive her popularity with critics and audiences.
Ironically, Bette’s character in this movie, Margo Channing, is a highly-regarded but aging actress whose career is fading.
The film is All About Eve, an Academy Award-winning drama that premiered in New York City on October 13, 1950.
Mankiewicz himself wrote the screenplay. He based it on a short story by Mary Orr about a scheming young actress named Eve, who cozies up to an older actress, then tries to steal her roles and her husband.
Most true fans of classic movies knew the famous line that Davis, as Margo, delivers in the film.
It comes during a scene in which Margo throws a birthday party for her director and companion, Bill Sampson, played by Gary Merrill (who became Bette’s real life husband that same year).
When she notices him being a bit too attentive to the aspiring young actress Eve Harrington (played by Anne Baxter), Margo becomes jealous, starts downing drinks and acting snappish.
Her friend Karen (Celeste Holm) notices and says to her: “We’ve seen you like this before. Is it over, or is it just beginning?"
Margo quaffs another drink, walks over to a staircase, looks down with a devilish smile and responds with the now legendary movie quote:
“Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.”
Of course, since the year was 1950, she was alluding to buckling up during a bumpy flight on an airplane. Cars didn’t have seatbelts back then.
All About Eve was a major hit that rejuvenated Bette’s career, earned her an Oscar nomination and a Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival.
It’s also notable for a brief appearance by a young Marilyn Monroe during the party scene. It was one of her early roles and she didn’t get much screen time, but her beauty and sexy charisma are apparent.
Here are some of the other famous quotes and phrases linked to October 13:
• “You must remember this, a kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh…” – The famous song “As Time Goes By,” written by American songwriter Herman Hupfeld, was made famous by the movie Casablanca (1943). But it was originally written for the Broadway musical Everybody’s Welcome, which opened at the Shubert Theater in New York City on October 13, 1931.
• “Fail-Safe.” – The title of a book by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler that debuted in serialized form in the October 13, 1962 issue of The Saturday Evening Post magazine. It was soon published as a book that became a bestseller, burning the scary Cold War term “fail-safe” into America’s consciousness and language.
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