All About Eve (1950): Origins of The Cult Movie, Its Link to Elizabeth Bergner

Have you Ever wondered where good movies come from?

The Two Mrs. Carrolls, a 1947 Warner mystery thriller starring Bogart and Stanwyck, was based on a play of the same title.

The play opened in London in 1935, before being produced on Broadway in 1943, where it was a minor hit.  (Warner bought the rights and made the film in 1945 but kept it on the shelves for two years).

The play is credited to Martin Vale, the pseudonym of Marguerite Vale Veiller, writer Bayard Veiller’s wife.

The famous actress Elisabeth Bergner was acclaimed for the role of Sally Morton Carroll, played in the movie by Stanwyck.

During the play’s run, a young shy girl showed up at the stage door night after night to speak with Bergner. Bergner eventually became a mentor to the girl, sponsored her career in the theater, and was instrumental in making her an understudy in The Two Mrs. Carrolls.

The girl eventually undercut Bergner’s career. The incident became the basis for the 1946 short story “The Wisdom of Eve” by Mary Orr.  That story was then adapted (both expanded and changed) to the big screen by writer-director Joseph Mankiewicz in which became the 1950 Oscar winning movie All About Eve.  The rest, as they say, is history.