Margo Channing is a Star of the Theater. She made her first stage appearance, at the age of four, in Midsummer Night's Dream. She played a fairy and entered - quite unexpectedly - stark naked. She has been a Star ever since. Margo is a great Star. A true star. She never was or will be anything less or anything else.
Eve. Eve the Golden Girl, the Cover Girl, the Girl Next Door, the Girl on the Moon. Time has been good to Eve. Life goes where she goes. She's the profiled, covered, revealed, reported. What she eats and what she wears and whom she knows and where she was, and when and where she's going. Eve. You all know All About Eve. What can there be to know that you don't know?
Dear Margo. You were an unforgettable Peter Pan. You must play it again soon.
Every now and then some elder statesman of the theater or cinema assures the public that actors and actresses are just plain folks. Ignoring the fact that their greatest attraction to the public is their complete lack of resemblance to normal human beings.
I have lived in the theater as a Trappist monk lives in his faith. I have no other world; no other life - and once in a great while, I experience that moment of revelation for which all true believers wait and pray. You were one. Jeanne Eagels another...there are others, three or four. Eve Harrington will be among them.
I had lunch with Karen not three hours ago. As always with women who try to find out things, she told more than she learned. Now do you want to change your story about Lloyd beating at your door the other night?
That I should want you at all suddenly strikes me as the height of improbability, but that, in itself, is probably the reason. You're an improbable person, Eve, and so am I. We have that in common. Also a contempt for humanity, an inability to love and be loved, insatiable ambition - and talent. We deserve each other...and you realize and you agree how completely you belong to me?
Then stop being a star. And stop treating your guests as your supporting cast...It's about time Margo realized that what's attractive on stage need not necessarily be attractive off.
The reason is Margo, and don't try to figure it out. Einstein couldn't.
She can play Peck's Bad Boy all she wants and who's to stop her? Who's to give her that boot in the rear she needs and deserves?
Newton, they say, thought of gravity by getting hit on the head by an apple. And the man who invented the steam engine - he was watching a tea kettle. Not me. My big idea came to me just sitting on a couch. That boot in the rear to Margo. Heaven knows she had one coming. From me, from Lloyd, from Eve, Bill, Max, and so on. We'd all felt those size 5's of hers often enough. But how? The answer was buzzing around me like a fly. I had it. But I let it go. Screaming and calling names is one thing, but this could mean...Why not? Why, I said to myself, not? It would all seem perfectly legitimate. And there were only two people in the world who would know. Also, the boot would land where it would do the most good for all concerned. And after all, it was no more than a perfectly harmless joke that Margo herself would be the first to enjoy. And no reason why she shouldn't be told about it - in time.
Eve would ask Abbott to give her Costello.
Lloyd never got around somehow to asking whether it was all right with me for Eve to play Cora. Bill, oddly enough, refused to direct the play at first - with Eve in it. Lloyd and Max finally won him over. Margo never came to rehearsal. Too much to do around the house, she said. I'd never known Bill and Lloyd to fight as bitterly and often and always over some business for Eve, or a move, or the way she read a speech. But then I'd never known Lloyd to meddle as much with Bill's directing, as far as it affected Eve, that is. Somehow Eve kept them going. Bill stuck it out. Lloyd seemed happy. And I thought it might be best if I skipped rehearsals from then on. It seemed to me I had known always that it would happen, and here it was. I felt helpless, that helplessness you feel when you have no talent to offer - outside of loving your husband. How could I compete? Everything Lloyd loved about me, he had gotten used to long ago.
I like that girl, that quality of quiet graciousness.
It's Addison from start to finish. It drips with his brand of venom. Taking advantage of a kid like that, twisting her words, making her say what he wanted her to say.
There are very few moments in life as good as this. Let's remember it. To each of us and all of us, never have we been more close, may we never be farther apart.
I haven't got a union. I'm slave labor.
I'll tell ya how, like, like she's studyin' you, like you was a play or a book or a set of blueprints. How you walk, talk, eat, think, sleep.
The bed looks like a dead animal act.
Zanuck is impatient. He wants me, he needs me.
The theatuh, the theatuh - what book of rules says the theater exists only within some ugly buildings crowded into one square mile of New York City? Or London, Paris, or Vienna? Listen, junior. And learn. Want to know what the theater is? A flea circus. Also opera. Also rodeos, carnivals, ballets, Indian tribal dances, Punch and Judy, a one-man band - all theater. Wherever there's magic and make-believe and an audience - there's theater. Donald Duck, Ibsen, and the Lone Ranger. Sarah Bernhardt and Poodles Hanneford, Lunt and Fontanne, Betty Grable, Rex the Wild Horse, Eleanora Duse - they're all theater. You don't understand them, you don't like them all - why should you? The theater's for everybody - you included, but not exclusively - so don't approve or disapprove. It may not be your theater, but it's theater for somebody, somewhere...It's just that there's so much bourgeois in this ivory green room they call the theater. Sometimes it gets up around my chin.
She loves me like a father. Also, she's loaded.
We know her humility, her devotion, her loyalty to her art, her love, her deep and abiding love for us, for what we are and what we do, the theater. She has had one wish, one prayer, one dream - to belong to us. Tonight, her dream has come true. And henceforth, we shall dream the same of her.