7.8/10
12,646
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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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 year's mightiest cast in the hit play that tells on the women! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Though many people view Joan Crawford as the "bad girl" of the movie, Clare Boothe Luce, who wrote (as Clare Boothe) the play that the film was based on, sympathized most with Crystal Allen, Crawford's character. See more »

Goofs

When Sylvia is wearing the "eye" dress, in one shot the veil from her hat is covering all three eyes, but in all the other shots of her, it just covers the topmost eye. See more »

Quotes

Nancy Blake: You just can't bear Mary's happiness, can you, Sylvia? It gets you down.
Sylvia Fowler: How ridiculous! Why should it?
Nancy Blake: Because she's contented. Contented to be what she is.
Sylvia Fowler: Which is what?
Nancy Blake: A woman.
Sylvia Fowler: Ah! And what are we?
Nancy Blake: Females.
Sylvia Fowler: Really. And what are you, pet?
Nancy Blake: What nature abhors: I'm an old maid, a frozen asset.
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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

Featured in Stars of the Silver Screen: Joan Crawford (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

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

User Reviews

 
You could never recreate this cast on the stage
3 September 2006 | by MOscarbradleySee all my reviews

One of the best films of the 1930's and one of the greatest comedies ever made. This typically uncinematic George Cukor movie may possibly be the very pinnacle of his work on screen because he had the intelligence to film it straight knowing the material and the cast would speak for themselves. And the cast is to die for. You could never recreate it on stage, (even Norma Shearer is wonderful in this one). It may be very un-pc but there are few films that capture that uber-bitch mentality of upper-crust New York society dames and their gold-digging counterparts better than this. It is the zenith of the all the smart-assed, hard-boiled women's pictures of the thirties.

Adapted by Anita Loos and Jane Murfin from Clare Booth Luce's hit play it's about how 'Mrs Stephen Haines', (Shearer at her very best), loses her husband to Crystal Allen, (Joan Crawford before she went all serious on us), with more than a little help from her so-called 'friends', in particular catty Rosalind Russell, (terrific), before winning him back thanks to some new-found friends, (Paulette Goddard and Mary Boland among them). Men are conspicuous by their absence and it's to everyone's credit that you never miss them. A joy from start to finish.


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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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