Up 6,028 this week

The Women (1939)

Not Rated  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  1 September 1939 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.0/10 from 9,316 users  
Reviews: 139 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 »
Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

1 win. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Stage Door (1937)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A boardinghouse full of aspiring actresses and their ambitions, dreams and disappointments.

Director: Gregory La Cava
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Adolphe Menjou
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Affluent Millicent and Oliver Jordan throw a dinner for a handful of wealthy and/or well-born acquaintances, each of whom has much to reveal.

Director: George Cukor
Stars: Marie Dressler, John Barrymore, Wallace Beery
Auntie Mame (1958)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

An orphan goes to live with his free-spirited aunt. Conflict ensues when the executor of his father's estate objects to the aunt's lifestyle.

Director: Morton DaCosta
Stars: Rosalind Russell, Forrest Tucker, Coral Browne
Certificate: Passed Thriller | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A female blackmailer with a disfiguring facial scar meets a plastic surgeon who offers her the possibility of looking like a normal woman.

Director: George Cukor
Stars: Joan Crawford, Melvyn Douglas, Conrad Veidt
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A hard-working mother inches towards disaster as she divorces her husband and starts a successful restaurant business to support her spoiled daughter.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Joan Crawford, Jack Carson, Zachary Scott
The Divorcee (1930)
Certificate: Passed Romance | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

When a woman discovers that her husband has been unfaithful to her, she decides to respond to his infidelities in kind.

Director: Robert Z. Leonard
Stars: Norma Shearer, Robert Montgomery, Chester Morris
Jezebel (1938)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A haughty headstrong Southern Belle in Antebellum Louisiana loses her fiance due to her stubborn vanity and pride and vows to get him back.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Bette Davis, Henry Fonda, George Brent
Dark Victory (1939)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A young socialite is diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour, and must decide whether she'll meet her final days with dignity.

Director: Edmund Goulding
Stars: Bette Davis, George Brent, Humphrey Bogart
Holiday (1938)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A young man falls in love with a girl from a rich family. His unorthodox plan to go on holiday for the early years of his life is met with skepticism by everyone except for his fiancée's eccentric sister and long suffering brother.

Director: George Cukor
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Doris Nolan
Grand Hotel I (1932)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A group of very different individuals staying at a luxurious hotel in Berlin deal with each of their respective dramas.

Director: Edmund Goulding
Stars: Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, Joan Crawford
Now, Voyager (1942)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Boston spinster blossoms under therapy and finds impossible romance.

Director: Irving Rapper
Stars: Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Polly Parrish, a clerk at Merlin's Department Store, is mistakenly presumed to be the mother of a foundling. Outraged at Polly's unmotherly conduct, David Merlin becomes determined to keep ... See full summary »

Director: Garson Kanin
Stars: Ginger Rogers, David Niven, Charles Coburn


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 <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Female Of The Species . . . when the men aren't watching ! 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?


The film's costume designer Adrian had his work cut out for him dressing some of Hollywood's most glamorous leading ladies. In addition to the regular costumes for the film, he was also asked to create multiple high fashion gowns and outfits for a Technicolor fashion show scene that was to be inserted into the black and white film. Technicolor was still something of a novelty in 1939, and Stromberg wanted the fashion show to be an eye-popping unexpected surprise for moviegoers. When all was said and done, Adrian had designed over 200 gowns for the cast of the film. See more »


As Lucy hauls Sylvia into the house after her fight with Miriam, the camera (after panning from left to right, following them) quickly jerks back before the film cuts away, indicating that had the camera panned over any further, the set would have been revealed. See more »


Mrs. Moorehead: Stephen is a man. He's been married ten years.
Mary Haines: Oh. You mean he's tired of me?
Mrs. Moorehead: Stephen's tired of himself. Tired of feeling the same things in himself. Time comes when a man's got to feel something new, and he's got to feel young again, just because he's growing old.
Mary Haines: Mother! Stephen isn't old!
Mrs. Moorehead: Of course not, but we women are so much more sensible. When we tire of ourselves, we change the way we do our hair, or hire a new cook, or... or decorate the house. I suppose a man could do over his office...
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 Scarlett O'Hara War (1980) See more »


(1939) (uncredited)
Music by Edward Ward
Lyrics by Chet Forrest and Bob Wright
Played at the end and sung by an offline chorus
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Legendary Comedy Available On DVD
22 April 2005 | by (Biloxi, Mississippi) – See all my reviews

The female of the species goes jungle red in tooth and claw in this brilliant screen adaptation of Claire Boothe Luce's famous Broadway play--a wickedly funny portrait of 1930s society women whose lives revolve around beauty treatments, luncheons, fashion shows, and each other's men. Socialite Mary Haines is the envy of her set: rich, beautiful, and happily married... but when her husband steps out on her with a gold-digging perfume counter sales clerk, Mary's so-called friends dish enough dirt to make divorce inevitable whether Mary wants it or not.

The script is wickedly, mercilessly funny, fast paced, razor sharp and filled with such memorable invective that you'll be quoting it for weeks and months afterward: "He says he'd like to do Sylvia's nails right down to the wrist with a buzz-saw;" "Why that old gasoline truck, she's sixty if she's a minute;" "Gimme a bromide--and put some gin in it!" And the all-female cast, which includes every one from Cora Witherspoon to Butterfly McQueen to Hedda Hopper, plays it with tremendous spark.

This was the last significant starring role for Norma Shearer, one of MGM's greatest stars of the 1930s, and she acquits herself very well as the much-wronged Mary Haines. But the real winners are the members of the supporting cast. Joan Crawford is truly astonishing as Crystal Allen, the shop girl who leads Mary's husband astray, and Rosalind Russell gives an outrageously funny performance as the back-biting gossip whose nasty comments precipitate Mary's divorce. Indeed, it is hard to do anything except rave about the entire the cast, which includes such diverse performers as Marjorie Main, Paulette Goddard, Joan Fontaine, and Lucille Watson. Even the smallest bit parts score with one-liners that have the impact of a slap in the face, and director George Cukor does an incredible job of keeping everything and every one in sharp focus.

Perhaps one of the most interesting things about THE WOMEN is the way in which director Cukor ties the behavior of its characters to their social status. Possessed of absolute leisure and considerable wealth, their energies are inevitably directed into competition for the ultimate status symbol: a successful man. Cukor allows us to sympathize with Mary (Shearer) and laugh at Sylvia (Russell), but he also requires us to pity them--and indirectly encourages grudging admiration for the devious Crystal (Crawford) and the savvy Miriam (Goddard), characters who are considerably more self-reliant. Consequently, not only does THE WOMEN paint a poisonously funny portrait of women as a sex, it takes a hatchet to the society that has shaped their characters as well.

Unfortunately, this landmark comedy has not received the full benefit of what DVD offers. Although the print is crisp, the film has not been restored, and the extras are spurious and hardly do the film justice; while I would recommend the DVD simply because you're likely to wear out a VHS, the DVD has no great advantage over the VHS release. But whether you have it on VHS or DVD, this is one title that you must have in your collection: you'll watch it again and again. A must-have! Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer

35 of 38 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Joan Crawford...I don't see it bcubedgirl
a woman in love can't afford pride MyMB
Favorite Character Alix1929
Lesbianism? garlandbrando
Not a Norma Shearer fan... kerrytrout
What's the deal with the one scene in color? ladylavende
Discuss The Women (1939) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: