Tuesday, January 31, 2012

All About Eve: The Adaption

     The film All About Eve (directed by Joseph Mankiewicz) is an adaption of Mary Orr's short story "The Wisdom of Eve." Although there are differences among the two version, the general thrust and plot of the story remains the same: a young, aspiring actress named Eve cleverly deceives and tricks countless people in the hopes of reaching her dream of stardom.
    Within the short story, we begin with a short monologue-esque introduction that sets up the tone of the story, clearly stating that: no, "Eve Harrington" is not a good person.  Within the movie, however, we start off with the opening scene of an awards ceremony, where we cut back among the reactions of the key players in the film.  We see that they all look quite perturbed with the situation- thus giving us a similar feeling to the introduction of the short story, the one difference being that in the film we are given less background information, thus many questions form in our head.

    In the short story, the author does a nice and simple job of skimming over and reflecting the events that occur to cause Margo to become suspicious of Eve.  In the film, we get a better look at this.  Rather than just seeing Eve watching Margo, the film presents to us little things, like: Eve sending Margo's husband a letter without Margo knowing, Eve dancing around with Margo's dress, and Eve being overly on top of things.
    The short story simply suggests that Eve Harrington tried to steal both the lover of Margo and the husband of Karen Richards.  In the film, this is taken a step further.  There is a full on, intense scene, where we see the true nature of Eve as she tries to capture the heart of Margo's lover.  Upon his rejection, she quickly decides to start going after Karen's husband.  Many scenes showcase Eve's determination for her goal.

    All in all, the film expands upon concepts that the short story simply suggests. Additionally, the film gives us a better understanding of the little things that make up each of the main characters.


  1. Kira:

    What a well-written, thorough reflection. I want to commend your detail and the format of your blog. The addition of relevant film stills was nice to see.
    I had not considered the parallels between the openings of both pieces. It is indeed a great snapshot of adaptation because, as you surmise, it evokes the same emotional feeling that the reader gets from the short story.
    I think many people have picked up on the difference between the film and the short story regarding the events that cause Margo’s suspicion. You explain the differences articulately and accurately. However, I wish you had made some sort of judgment about which method you thought was more effective, rather than just a report on what you actually saw. It feels like a summary – I think you could take it a step further and explicate your opinion.
    Overall, great job and attention to detail.

    - Cat

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  2. Really great specific points to back up the idea that the film expands on aspects of the short story that are summarized. You are tangentially addressing the specific question assigned, but you don’t specifically state whether you see those choices being driven more by the fact that the adaptation is a different medium (film vs short story) or more by the artistic choices of the writer/director of the film. I really like your point about how the opening is creating a similar reaction from the audience/reader, but in a different way – and would love to see you expand on whether you think that choice was more artistically driven or just worked better because it was visually telling us this rather than through words. Great content, just be sure to specifically address the question(s).

  3. You pointed out an interesting difference between the short story in the film in that the film details more explicit schemes of Eve and shows events as they happened, rather than describes them. I think this change is mostly because film as a medium shows better than tells, while short stories can tell plot through dialogue and inner thoughts.

  4. Kira! Really nice post, your pointed out some very cool similarities and differences between the two versions. I don't know if you really answered the film versus written story aspect of the question, but you make up for it with your very thoughtful view on the parallels in both.