The Women (1939)

Not Rated  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  1 September 1939 (USA)
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Reviews: 138 user | 57 critic

A study of the lives and romantic entanglements of various interconnected women.



(from the play by) (as Clare Boothe) , (screen play), 3 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Phyllis Povah ...
Lucile Watson ...
Virginia Grey ...
Muriel Hutchison ...
Florence Nash ...


Wealthy Mary Haines is unaware her husband is having an affair with shopgirl Crystal Allen. Sylvia Fowler and Edith Potter discover this from a manicurist and arrange for Mary to hear the gossip. On the train taking her to a Reno divorce Mary meets the Countess and Miriam (in an affair with Fowler's husband). While they are at Lucy's dude ranch, Fowler arrives for her own divorce and the Countess meets fifth husband-to-be Buck. Back in New York, Mary's ex is now unhappily married to Crystal who is already in an affair with Buck. When Sylvia lets this story slip at an exclusive nightclub, Crystal brags of her plans for a still wealthier marriage, only to find the Countess is the source of all Buck's money. Crystal must return to the perfume counter and Mary runs back to her husband. Written by Ed Stephan <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The year's mightiest cast in the hit play that tells on the women! See more »


Comedy | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

1 September 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mujeres  »

Box Office


$1,688,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)


| (Technicolor) (one sequence)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Even though the overall atmosphere was one of great professionalism, there were still some reports of legitimate tension on the set between Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford. One frequently repeated story told of one day when the two actresses were running lines to prepare for their big dressing room confrontation scene. As author Gavin Lambert tells it in his 1990 book Norma Shearer, "Cukor filmed the master shot, then lined up a close-up of Norma. While he rehearsed her, Joan, who still brought her knitting to the set, clacked away at an afghan with her large, heavy needles. Then Cukor asked her to stand behind the camera during the take and speak her lines off-screen to Norma. She did so, trailing her afghan, and as Cukor held the shot for Norma's silent reaction, the needles clacked away again. Norma lost her concentration, looked up sharply, and asked Joan to stop needling during the retake. Joan pretended not to hear, repeated the treatment, and this time Norma broke off in mid-reaction. Her voice as steely as the needles, she asked Cukor to send Miss Crawford home and read the lines himself." Cukor, angry, asked Crawford to apologize. Crawford refused and walked off the set, though she did later send a telegram of apology to Shearer once she had cooled off. See more »


Barn doors for a sound stage light appear to be hanging from the 'ceiling' in Mrs. Haines' living room. It is visible during Mary's conversation with her guests from the moment where Peggy helps her put on a necklace, up until they leave the room. See more »


Exercise instructress: Arms flat. Crawl slowly up the wall...
Sylvia Fowler: The way you say that makes me feel like vermin.
Exercise instructress: That shouldn't be much effort. I mean, crawling up the wall.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the opening credits, before the photo images of the actresses are shown, their characters are revealed by images of various animals. See more »


Referenced in The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) See more »


Old Chisholm Trail (Come a Ti Yi Yippee Yippee Yay)
Sung a cappella in part by Mary Boland
Reprised a cappella in part by Rosalind Russell
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Divinely Funny

I just saw this film for the first time a few months ago. I laughed harder than I remember laughing at anything made in the last twenty years. The Women is brilliantly written, brilliantly acted, and a whole lot of fun! Norma Shearer is such a sympathetic Mrs. Haines, and the "Jungle red" scene had me in laughing fits. I just could not stop the video for anything. Rosalind Russell was so funny! I thought the scene in the exercise room was absolutely hysterical. I've always been a fan of the demeure Joan Fontaine of Rebecca, and I was surprised to see her here, though not surprised that she played the lamb! This film is such a delight. I think anyone of any age would enjoy it.

29 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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