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The Women (1939)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama | 1 September 1939 (USA)
3:26 | Trailer

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



(from the play by) (as Clare Boothe), (screen play) | 1 more credit »
1 win. See more awards »



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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 »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Phyllis Povah ...
Lucile Watson ...
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 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
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Did You Know?


At Mary Haines' luncheon, author Nancy Blake asks Sylvia Fowler, "What are you made up for, The Seeing Eye?" The Seeing Eye is America's first guide dog school. It was founded in 1929. 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 »


Mary Haines: I think I got what Mrs. Fowler's friends come in for.
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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 »


Featured in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's Big Parade Hits for 1940 (1940) 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

The Quintessential Film of the Late 30's
9 May 2005 | by (California) – See all my reviews

There were so many excellent films produced in 1939, but this is the best at showing (what Hollywood wanted to show) the current times. It showcases so many wonderful actresses all at once. Norma Shearer is just outstanding; this is my favorite movie of hers.

It also shows the values and thinking about women's roles at that time; but challenges them at the same time. As embodied by Mary's mother-in-law, there's a feeling of "boys will be boys" and the thought that even though her husband is playing around (for no good reason given - they seem to be a happy couple), Mary should let him get his "wild oats" out of his system, and look the other way. On the other hand, it shows a rich and varied view of all types of women, intelligent, catty, gentle, vicious, etc. They are not necessarily defined by the men in their lives - who are not shown. It actually shows the women ultimately deciding how their men will live - and with whom.

Overall, a wonderful, enjoyable movie.

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

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