Today I spent the early afternoon trying to figure out what to buy people for Christmas. I'm not a huge fan of this time of year because I find it all quite false. We go out and buy ridiculous gifts for people of things that they don't need nor want. We all get together and pretend that we do actually like each other. We respond to everyone who sends us a Christmas card with one in return, even if we are in regular contact.
While hating everything, I do what I usually do at this time of year, I go wandering around the shops half looking for ideas the other half trying to work out what I would buy myself with the money I am going to spend on buying people gifts. Which means at some point in the day I will inevitable end up in a bookshop, where I will try and resist the temptation to buy myself anything - and today I succeeded... (or failed depending on which way you look at it!)
What always gets me about books today is that there seems to be a hell of a lot of copycat authors out there. Books that have the same basic premise of a story, or are set in a particular time period or place - and you can guarantee that they will all try and match the style of cover, hoping that you will accidentally pick up the wrong book. They even go as far to say things like "if you love Author X you will love this book that tells the same story, with the same sort of characters by this completely different and new author..." Is that really a good selling point?
Which in an incredibly roundabout way brings me onto the film All About Eve. Released in the same year as Sunset Boulevard, All About Eve has many of the same traits. Aging actress being threatened by younger talent or changing world and a slight critique of the industry itself. Which begs the question - why is it that we seem to have two very similar movies being released at the same time? Why is it that in all elements of life we seem to have fads?
What I think is better though is the storyline itself.Having said last week that the power-thirsty Citizen Kane was poorly done, we see in All About Eve a much better rendition of a Lady Macbeth character. Someone who is willing to do anything to get what she wants, to lie and cheat while all the time smiling demurely. Anne Baxter is not the strongest or best actress I have seen, but the character she portrays is sublime, and incredibly subtle until the big reveal towards the end. In fact I might have gone even further with it, and left it completely until the end, in an Agatha Christie style plot twist.
Having said all of that, I'm not sure that I enjoyed the movie enough to put it into my top100. It was alright, but I don't think it was anything particularly special.