Pity poor Broadway. She used to be the birthplace of fame and celebrity—the dream of actors, the place where dancers prayed for a part in a chorus line. Today, Hollywood's supplanted Broadway as the celeb incubator (let's not even get started on TV and YouTube). A recent scientific survey by Shmoop of People magazine revealed the ratio of movie stars to Broadway actors was 53 to 1 (the one being Bellamy Young, who only really got famous on TV). Today, unless you live in New York City, you might not hear about most Broadway stars unless it's Tony Awards night on TV or if their plays are made into movies. If Broadway shows really need to boost ticket sales, they put a Katie Holmes or Bruce Willis in the cast.
Some critics thought that All About Eve was really all about the competition between Hollywood and the Broadway theater, where you'd go to see serious drama with serious actors who weren't just, heaven forbid, movie stars. The Broadway theater considered Hollywood crass and inferior; in this movie, Hollywood turns the tables. All About Eve shines a spotlight on the conflict between the stage and Hollywood, and the behind-the-scenes drama of a celebrity vs. her art.
Questions About Art and Culture
- Does Margo value the art of acting more than celebrity? What about Eve?
- Why has the professional relationship between Lloyd and Margo been successful for so many years? Why is there now tension between playwright and actress?
- Addison, a critic, says he is "essential to the theater." Do you agree? What would theater be without critics?
- What other performing arts does this film remind you of? How would the movie be different if set in Hollywood, or a dance company?
Chew on This
In All About Eve, Hollywood makes fun of Broadway in a Hollywood movie about Broadway making fun of Hollywood.
Eve goes to Hollywood because she knows that's her best shot at super-celebrity, no matter what she says about her devotion to the theater.