Classic Movie Hub (CMH)


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"Applause" (the Broadway musical version starring Lauren Bacall) opened at the Palace Theater on March 30, 1970 and ran for 896 performances.

"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on October 1, 1951 with Bette Davis and Gary Merrill reprising their film roles.

"The Screen Guild Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on March 8, 1951 with Bette Davis, Anne Baxter and George Sanders reprising their film roles.

Darryl F. Zanuck envisioned Marlene Dietrich as Margo Channing, Jeanne Crain as Eve Harrington, and José Ferrer as Addison DeWitt. Director Joseph L. Mankiewicz's early choices for the Margo Channing role were Claudette Colbert and Gertrude Lawrence. When Crain became pregnant, Mankiewicz's final choice for the Eve Harrington part was Anne Baxter because she displayed a "bitch virtuosity" that he believed Crain could not provide. Other actresses were also named and considered for the part of Margo Channing, among them Tallulah Bankhead and Susan Hayward.

Ingrid Bergman was another actress considered for the part of Margo Channing but she had just fallen in love with Italian director Roberto Rossellini and didn't want to leave Italy.



Claudette Colbert was originally cast as Margo Channing, but suffered a ruptured disc during filming on Three Came Home and had to withdraw. Bette Davis stepped into the role, even though 20th Century-Fox studio chief Darryl F. Zanuck and Davis couldn't stand each other, going back to when Davis walked out from her post as president of the Motion Picture Academy in 1941.

Celeste Holm had only recently left 20th Century Fox after a bitter contract dispute with Darryl F. Zanuck. Who then had to rehire her at Joseph L. Mankiewicz's insistence.

Donna Reed was also considered for the part of Eve Harrington.

Bette Davis admitted later on that Joseph L. Mankiewicz's casting her in this movie saved her career from oblivion after a series of unsuccessful movies. She said in a 1983 interview, "He resurrected me from the dead."

Bette Davis fell in love with her co-star Gary Merrill during the shoot of this movie and the two married in July 1950 a few weeks after filming was completed. They adopted a baby girl, whom they named Margot.

Bette Davis filmed all of her scenes in 16 days.

Bette Davis' marriage to William Grant Sherry was in the throes of breaking up while she was making the film. Her raspy voice in the film is largely due to the fact that she burst a blood vessel in her throat from screaming at her soon-to-be-ex-husband during one of their many rows. Director Joseph L. Mankiewicz liked the croaky quality so he didn't have Davis change it.

Bette Davis's performance as Margo Channing is ranked #5 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time.

Bette Davis's voice was strained from her recent divorce, and she had to re-record all her dialogue from the theater scene.

Angela Lansbury and Zsa Zsa Gabor were considered for the role of Miss Caswell. Gabor's then-husband, George Sanders, did get the role of Miss Caswell's mentor, Addison DeWitt.

Zsa Zsa Gabor kept arriving on the set because she was jealous of her husband George Sanders in his scenes with the young blonde ingénue Marilyn Monroe.

20th-Century Fox paid Mary Orr $5,000 for all rights to "The Wisdom of Eve".

33 years later, life imitated art when Anne Baxter stepped into Bette Davis' shoes to replace her on the series Hotel after she fell ill. Ms. Davis never returned to the show.

According to the casting director's list, future White House occupants Ronald Reagan and Nancy Davis were considered for the roles of Bill Sampson and Eve Harrington.

After the film's release, Bette Davis implored Joseph Mankiewicz to write a sequel that would focus on the characters of Margo and Bill (played by her lover on-and-off screen, Gary Merrill). Many years later, after she and Merrill had married and divorced, Davis ran into Mankiewicz at a party and said to him, "Joe, you can forget that sequel. I've played it and it doesn't work."

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