The Thinking Machine #60

Zohra, The Second Woman

In their series The Thinking Machine, critics Cristina Álvarez López and Adrian Martin create a new video essay for de Filmkrant every month.

The connection between John Cassavetes’ Opening Night (1977) and Joseph Mankiewicz’s All About Eve (1950) has often been noted: a stage ‘diva’ (Gena Rowlands or Bette Davis) faces a younger rival, real or imaginary. But there is another ‘second woman’ in Opening Night, overlooked by her husband (Ben Gazzara). She is played by Zohra Lampert, who played Warren Beatty’s wife in Elia Kazan’s Splendor in the Grass (1961). In both films, Zohra, with her indelible gestures, expresses the pain of being left forever ‘to the side’ of the main intrigue of the central characters. Let’s put her, at last, in the centre.