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The Women (1939)

Not Rated  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  1 September 1939 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 9,317 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 »
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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 <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


It's all about men! 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?


Judith Allen, who plays the corset model, had previously worked as a model in New York (under the name Mari Colman) before her acting career began. See more »


In her dressing room, Crystal slips her coat off her shoulders. In the next shot, her coat is completely back on. See more »


Exercise instructress: Let's begin with posture. A lady always enters a room erect.
Sylvia Fowler: Most of my friends exit horizontally.
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 Rewind This! (2013) See more »


On Top of Old Smokey
Sung a cappella by Marjorie Main
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

19 October 2003 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

"The Women" owes its appeal to the great George Cukor. Without him, it would certainly have been a different movie. Because of his direction this is a Hollywood classic at its best.

They certainly don't make pictures like this anymore. Imagine what it would have cost to have a first rate cast to fill the shoes of all these women in today's Hollywood? It would probably be so prohibitive that no one in the present climate would touch it with a ten foot pole.

"The Women", as written by Clare Booth Luce for the stage, was a delicious comedy about New York society, as it was in the late 30s. Of course, by today's standards, this is a very chaste take on that subject. Had it been done today, it would have been done entirely different and the excellent text by Ms. Luce would have probably been thrown away to satisfy the taste of contemporary audiences.

Norma Shearer was excellent as Mary Haines, the suffering wife, who has no clue of how her husband has fallen to the charms of Crystal Allen, beautifully played by Joan Crawford. Rosalind Russell, Mary Boland, Paulette Goddard, Joan Fontaine and the rest of the cast seem to be having a lot of fun while playing these women.

One thing does come clear, those women had a style and a sophistication well beyond the times they lived. It's very clear that Claire Booth Luce was well ahead of it all, as she had an understanding for what was going on around her. What a thrill it must have been to have been around New York in that glamorous era!

Women: Love them, as we cannot live without them!

42 of 49 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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