The Women (1939) Poster

(1939)

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  • When New York society woman Mary Haines (Norma Shearer) learns, thanks to gossip fueled by busybodies Sylvia Fowler (Rosalind Russell) and Edith Potter (Phyllis Povah), that her wealthy husband Stephen is having an affair with gold-digging perfume counter clerk Crystal Allen (Joan Crawford), she heads for Reno to obtain a divorce. However, a chance meeting with four-time divorcee Countess Flora de Lave (Mary Boland) and a stay at Lucy's (Marjorie Main) dude ranch cause her to reconsider her choices. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • The Women is based on a play written in 1936 by American writer Clare Boothe Luce [1903-1987]. The play was adapted for the screen by writers Anita Loos and Jane Murfin. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • There are no male actors listed in the cast. In addition, it has been said that all of the animals used in the movie were female and that none of the artworks were of the male form. However, several males have been spied in the movie by astute observers. One is a cardboard bull that pops up during the fashion show at about 48 minutes into the movie. Another is a photo of a man on the back cover of a magazine that Peggy (Joan Fontaine) is reading as the women start arriving at Mary Haines's house (about 14 minutes into the movie). Right after that scene, when Sylvia plops down in a chair, there is a portrait on the table behind her. The person in the portrait appears to be a young man (although it could be a portrait of Mary's daughter with short hair). The fourth is a portrait of what appears to be a male hanging in Mary's sitting room. It can be seen about 20 minutes into the film when Mary is on the phone with Stephen. Finally, there was a rumor that director George Cukor in drag was one of the women at the salon, but this has not been confirmed. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Almost as theatrical and certainly as decadent as flaming crêpes Suzette, pancakes Barbara are pancakes smothered with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, blanched walnuts, and hot chocolate sauce. Just hearing about them can put on five pounds. In another version: pancakes Barbara are blackberry pancakes served with brandy sauce and named for silent screen star Barbara La Marr. The dessert was on the menu at the MGM commissary in the 1930s and was a favorite of studio boss Louis B. Mayer. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • That was a passage from "On Love," a chapter in The Prophet (1923) by the Lebanese philosopher Kahlil Gibran [1883-1931]. The entire passage goes like this: But if you would seek only love's pleasure, Then it is better for you to cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing floor, Into the outside world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears. Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself. Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; For love is sufficient unto love. For the movie, however, the term "nakedness" was edited out and "love's threshing floor" was changed to "love's domain." Edit (Coming Soon)

  • Sylvia Fowler refers to Crystal Allen as "a beezle". This was actually a word coined by Anita Loos to describe a shop girl or lower/working class girl, "not of our class" antithesis to the society ladies. Edit (Coming Soon)

  • When Little Mary tells her mother that Stephen is unhappy being married to Crystal, Mary decides to set in motion a plan to get Stephen back. At the Countess' farewell party, she manages to wheedle out of Sylvia that Crystal is having an affair with Buck Winston, who is now married to the Countess. Mary relays that information to both the Countess and a gossip columnist, then confronts Crystal. Crystal haughtily says that Mary can have Stephen back because she now has Buck to support her...until the Countess reveals that she has been funding Buck's radio career and that Buck is virtually penniless. 'Looks like it's back to the perfume counter for me,' Crystal admits defeat, then adds that there's a name for ladies like them, 'but it isn't used in high society—outside of a kennel." Peggy informs Mary that Stephen is outside asking to see her. With a big smile on her face, Mary rushes up the stairs to Stephen (whom we still don't see), opening her arms to him as she goes. Edit (Coming Soon)

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