7.8/10
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226 user 71 critic

The Women (1939)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama | 1 September 1939 (USA)
Trailer
3:26 | Trailer
A study of the lives and romantic entanglements of various interconnected women.

Director:

George Cukor

Writers:

Clare Boothe Luce (from the play by) (as Clare Boothe), Anita Loos (screen play) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
2 wins. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Norma Shearer ... Mrs. Stephen Haines - Mary
Joan Crawford ... Crystal Allen
Rosalind Russell ... Mrs. Howard Fowler - Sylvia
Mary Boland ... The Countess De Lave - Flora
Paulette Goddard ... Miriam Aarons
Joan Fontaine ... Mrs. John Day - Peggy
Lucile Watson ... Mrs. Morehead
Phyllis Povah ... Mrs. Phelps Potter - Edith
Virginia Weidler ... Little Mary
Marjorie Main ... Lucy
Virginia Grey ... Pat
Ruth Hussey ... Miss Watts
Muriel Hutchison ... Jane
Hedda Hopper ... Dolly DuPuyster
Florence Nash ... Nancy Blake
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

The Female Of The Species . . . when the men aren't watching ! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At the wrap party, Rosalind Russell was dancing with George Cukor, when Ernst Lubitsch passed her and said, "If you want more close-ups in the picture, never mind dancing with your director, you'd better dance with Norma Shearer!" Without missing a beat, Russell took Shearer's hand with a wink and danced her across the floor. See more »

Goofs

When Mary and friends are at the mirror fixing their makeup; Peggy talks about her child as if it is a newborn and shares that he just said Dada. But Peggy discovered she was pregnant 2 years ago and taking into account the minimal time it takes to be aware of a pregnancy; the baby is at least 16 months old if not older. Most children say their first words like "Dada" around 10 to 12 months of age and there was no mention of the baby being a late talker or having developmental issues therefore the statement is not logical. See more »

Quotes

Sylvia Fowler: [Showing her nails to Mary] Mary, how do you like that?
Nancy Blake: Too, too adorable.
Sylvia Fowler: Ah, you have no idea how it stays on... I get it at Sydney's. You should go, Mary. A wonderful new manicurist. Olga's her name; she's marvelous. Isn't that divine? Jungle Red!
Nancy Blake: Looks like you've been tearing at somebody's throat!
Sylvia Fowler: [Smacks her hand on the table] I'll be darned, Nancy, if I'll let you ride me anymore!
Mary Haines: Oh Sylvia, Nancy's only trying to be clever, too.
Sylvia Fowler: Well, she takes a crack at everything about me... Even my nails!
Mary Haines: ...
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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 »

Alternate Versions

At the start of the Technicolor Adrian fashion show, the video and TV versions have traditionally shown a Technicolor stage in the middle of the screen surrounded by pure white (this always struck me as odd but I never thought too much about it). The original 1939 version of the scene shows the Technicolor stage surrounded by the rest of the room IN BLACK AND WHITE, using a stenciling process developed for (but ultimately unused in) The Wizard of Oz. Presumably, because the reel starts right BEFORE the transition, it was either too much trouble and expense to process the small bit of stray black and white footage for television (it would have to have been printed separately onto each release print in 1939)or, more likely, the footage has been lost. The new video and cable versions show The Women in a reconstruction of the original version, with the Technicolor stage printed over a black and white still from later in the film. The image, as now presented, is much less jarring than the original video release. The fashion show was also shot in black and white, with the models interacting with the stars as they move throughout the boutique. After principal photography ended, MGM decided to re-shoot the fashion show in Technicolor (this color footage was not shot by George Cukor)and the models no longer interact with Norma Shearer, 'Rosalind Russell', etc. The original black and white footage, saved in the MGM vault, can now be seen as a special feature on the Warner DVD. Older television prints often showed the fashion show in black and white, but it was not this alternate footage, just the color sequence printed without its tints. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Feud: Bette and Joan: Mommie Dearest (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain When She Comes
(uncredited)
Traditional
Played as background music for Marjorie Main's photo credit
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User Reviews

All-Time Classic Cat Fight
25 September 2011 | by misctidsandbitsSee all my reviews

A TCM announcer said the classic cat fight of all times was in this movie. It is a humdinger. But it doesn't start at the ranch -- it runs all the way through!

So much has been noted about it, but wanted to comment on something about the Joan Crawford character. She works at a sales counter, yet has a nice place of her own and great clothes. She played a lot of shop girls, always having a knockout wardrobe, including over the top evening clothes and a very well appointed apartment. In the real world, a sales girl would have to be living at home or at the Y or have at least one roommate, and wouldn't be able to afford an expensive wardrobe. But, this is the movies, and we enjoy it that way.

Also, really enjoyed Virginia Grey's part as the savvy sales girl who prickles Crystal while she's on the phone with Steven. "Holy mackerel, what a line!" With so much cleverness going on, that sequence doesn't get much mention, but she was priceless.

How about that beauty clinic! What a setup.

And we do love to admire the clothes, which were so interesting then, their dressing up so much. There's a lot to check out in this picture, as well as catching the snappy lines, as has been mentioned here. Yep, play it again, Sam-antha.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

1 September 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Women See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,688,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$16,161
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

Black and White | Color (Technicolor) (one sequence)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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