Friday, November 11, 2005


Addison DeWitt: What do you take me for?
Eve Harrington: I don't know that I'd take you for anything.

Addison DeWitt: While you wait you can read my column. It'll make minutes fly like hours.

Addison DeWitt: In [the theatre] I toil not, neither do I spin. I am a critic and commentator. I am essential to the theatre--as ants to a picnic, as the boll weevil to a cotton field.

--George Sanders, as Addison in All About Eve, doing his bit to elevate the public's perception of critics. Posted by Picasa

16 comments:

Dan Jardine said...

Campaspe, do you make your email address readily available, or do I have to pay your publicist for the privilege? I have a question to ax you. Other than the one I just posed, that is.

Campaspe said...

It's unpublished but, as they say, available upon request. I emailed you.

Tania said...

Addison DeWitt is my husband's favorite film character of all time. He loves to tell me, "You're too short for that gesture."

Dan Jardine said...

Thanks. Now, I'm wondering why that email has not yet arrived. Did you send it to my gmail address, by chance?

Dan Jardine said...

Errr...nevermind. It's sitting right here on my lap, so to speak. Later.

Campaspe said...

"...and besides, it went out with Mrs. Fiske." Hee. Such a great movie. Tania, did you ever see A Letter to Three Wives? The script is almost as good as All About Eve.

Dan - glad it arrived. I confuse matters by having a pseudonymous email for my blog pseudonym.

Exiled in NJ said...

You unearthed another treasure in '3 Wives.' And it is another picture of a small town. When you realize Mankiewicz, Wilder & Brackett, Raphaelson and others were roaming the land in those days, it makes you wonder what happened to the art of screen writing.

The word 'letter' in the title seems to guarantee a good film.

Exiled in NJ said...

Apologies! Mankiewicz was a wonderful writer, and has films are so literate, but Vera Caspary was credited with writing 3 Wives.

Campaspe said...

Exiled: After checking IMDB and a Mankiewicz bio, it seems that Mankiewicz did indeed write the screenplay (and got an Oscar for it), but Vera Caspary was responsible for adapting the John Klempner novel, "A Letter to Five Wives." Caspary, along with producer Sol Siegel, were the ones who came up with the movie's brilliant structure. Caspary cut the number of wives to four (later Zanuck cut the fourth, who would have been played by Anne Baxter) and she also came up with the all-day-outing-with-the-orphans device. Siegel decided Addie should be off-screen.

"Letter" is just one of my favorite films of all time, and includes my favorite holiday quote, when Mrs. Finney says "Can't we have peace in this house, even on New Year's Eve?" and Thelma Ritter replies "You've got it mixed up with Christmas. New Year's is when people go back to killing each other."

Tania said...

A Letter to Three Wives? Never saw it or even heard of it! But now I am committing the title to memory because a good script is hard to find.

Thanks for the rec, m'dear. Love your blog. Carry on, carry on.

Campaspe said...

Tania, if you don't like "Letter," I'll fall over in a dead faint.

girish said...

I know this sounds sacrilegious but "A Letter To Three Wives" is my favorite of Mankiewicz's movies, even more so than "All About Eve". Saw it again recently--it looks and sounds better than ever.

Peter Nellhaus said...

According to David Newman and Robert Benton, back in 1970, Mankiewicz use to describe himself as, "the oldest whore on the block". The character of Big Joe in Bad Company (1972) was modeled after J.M.

Campaspe said...

Girish, there are times when I agree. By far my favorite is Linda Darnell. Quel operator!!

Little trivia bit for Peter & Girish: I read that General Douglas MacArthur found the "Letter" ending so confusing he had one of his aides write to Mankiewicz for an explanation.

jgodsey said...

just because Mankiewicz got credit and the oscar doesn't mean he actually wrote the screenplay all alone.

Campaspe said...

JGodsey, I'm a bit befuddled by your comment. If you're talking about 3 Wives we discussed Vera Caspary and Sol Siegel earlier. If there is anything out there that says Mankiewicz didn't write All About Eve in its entirety (using the Orr short story as the inspiration) I have never read it. Zanuck suggested cuts and tightening but that's hardly co-writing.