What a Woman (1943) Poster


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fun, upbeat war-time flick
ksf-219 October 2010
W.A.W. opens up in a magazine publishing office, where they are discussing how to interview the latest best-selling author, who no-one has ever met. Flash to Carol Ainsley (R. Russell, nominated for four Oscars), who is the agent for the un-seen author. She is determined to track down the author (played by Willard Parker), and doesn't realize the can of worms that revealing him may open... Brian Aherne is "Pepper", a magazine editor who is writing a story on Ainsley, and keeps popping up where-ever Ainsley goes. For most of the film, he is sitting in chairs, waiting for Ainsley to go through the doorway, or come back from where-ever she has been.

Keep an eye out for some fun supporting characters - Carol's assistant is played by Grady Sutton is a few years after making those hilarious W.C. Fields films. The office secretary is played by Norma Varden, who was so great as Lady Beekman in "Gentlemen Prefer Blonds". The mens dormitory clerk is Chester Clute, who looks and sounds just like Mel Blanc. Unfortunately, all these actors have very few lines; given a few more lines, they could have spiced the film up a bit. Russell does a great job, and carries the film well. It's a lot of fun to watch, although it's more plain and simple than I was expecting; after seeing her in "Friday", I was hoping for more plot twists. She has the same, strong, fast-talking personality that she had in "His Girl Friday". It was refreshing to watch an upbeat, war-time movie without a single mention of the war. Directed by Irving Cummings, who had directed Shirley Temple in four films in the 1930s. I hope Turner Classics starts showing this more often.
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Armand10 January 2015
seductive against the air of period. Rosalind Russell as axis of a nice comedy about success , a project and love in a mixture who respects classic rules of romantic comedy. that could be all. but it has a special dose of charm and that does it interesting in not ordinary manner. the strong woman, the charming , wise, sarcastic reporter and the innocent Prince Charming, the chaos and the silence, the feelings and the duty as ingredients of a story, like many others, about the metamorphose and real happiness. the mark of period, the brilliant Russell, the splendid performance of Brian Aherne are pillars of a film who , far to be memorable is an inspired choice for remind the flavor of a lost time.
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Not much of a stretch for Rosalind.
MartinHafer7 November 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Rosalind Russell seemed to play a bazillion roles over the years in which she played high-powered yet rather sexless ladies. So, when you see her in "What a Woman!" playing exactly this sort of character once again, you have a strong sense of déjà vu. This means if you are an old movie fan like me, this film seemed rather clichéd because this topic has been done too often...and done better.

The film begins with Rosalind playing an executive at a major publishing house. She has a very successful author working for her and there is talk of making a movie of the man's book---yet no one has seen him or knows anything about him. So Rosalind is determined to track down this guy--who turns out, oddly, to be nothing like you'd expect. While the book is apparently some sort of romance, he's a bookish and rather asexual professor (Willard Parker). Inexplicably, Rosalind has the crazy idea of bringing Parker back to New York and molding him into the character from his book so he can play him in an upcoming movie. Why? This is never explained.

Parker turns out to be pretty awful, but still Russell pushes him....again, I asked 'why?'. But, when she kisses him and coaches him, he suddenly turns into a love-sick puppy. He very, very ardently pursues her and she shows as much interest as a person looking forward to a root canal--and it's obvious to everyone except Parker.

At the same time, a reporter (Brian Aherne) has been floating about throughout the movie--as if he has no job or is on an extended vacation. It's obvious that he, too, is interested in Russell. This and the Parker romances make no sense, as neither man has any reason to even like her--she is 100% asexual and about as alluring as boiled turnips. Yet, you know by convention that by the end of the film she will become a 'real woman' and marry one of the two male leads.

I'd say this film was in need of a massive re-write. Although it starts off promisingly (even though it has a lot of familiar elements), midway through the film it totally loses direction. The characters begin acting inexplicably and you wonder if ANYONE could behave this way. In movies, yes...in real life, absolutely never! In addition, the characters don't do a whole lot other than act kooky--mostly because the writer has given them nothing more to do. And the ending comes out of no where!! A time-passer and nothing more.
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Don't They Know There's a War On?
boblipton19 October 2010
This mildly preposterous riff on the by now standard Rosalind Russell comedy -- high powered woman executive meets easy-going, mildly contemptuous bohemian and falls into frilly love by the end of the fifth reel -- winds along its well-greased way in a mildly bemused fashion. Long-time pro, Irving Cummings directs this well enough, but only Miss Russell puts any oomph into her role and the visuals mainly seem concerned with her head, making sure that she has an odd looking hat or hairdo that seems to change with every scene. She wears some dynamite dresses also; credit Travis Banton for the dresses. He seems to have specialized in gowning Carole Lombard in her movies.

Everyone seems to be giving it the old college try, but by now the formula had grown pretty tired, sustained only by war time movie attendance and some hope that all those Rosies out there, busy riveting together planes and battleships would be able to spend their times in silly hats once the war was over and men like Brian Aherne would be free of the restrictions of bow ties.
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Roughly speaking, she's still a woman of distinction.
mark.waltz25 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
The Rosalind Russell stereotype of the high hat business executive/lady boss gets probably its most tiresome plot. There's the macho man she despises (Brian Aherne), the cultured man she respects (Willard Parker) and the one she falls in love with. Who could that possibly be? It takes over 90 minutes for her to get to the final choice, and along the way, she cracks wise, dresses glamorously and fights the stereotype of what a war era woman should be. Even if women got to run things while the men were "over there", something tells me that the Rosalind Russell archetype was an overachiever long before women on the swing shift flexed their muscle and insisted, "We can do it!"

Russell works as a publishing executive who discovers that mild mannered college professor Parker is a best selling author using a pseudonym. Fellow publisher Aherne keeps stalking them, gives Rosalind the worst of times, and makes smoke come out of her ears due to his insensitivity. But where there's smoke, there's fire, reuniting the stars of "My Sister Eileen" and keeping them working in the same industry. So Aherne and Russell talk fast, fight over the silliest things, and yet as well intended as it is, it just isn't all that funny, proving that lightning doesn't always strike twice. Roz has a great outburst towards the end, but that doesn't change the fact that the story is stale, unbelievable and mostly dull
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If you can write it, you can emote it
bkoganbing17 August 2017
Rosalind Russell stars in What A Woman in one of her career girl parts, that of a literary agent and one high powered agent she is. She's the daughter of a US Senator Edward Fielding.

That's enough to get free and easy free lance writer Brian Aherne interested enough to do a profile. Especially since Russell has a new project. She wants to get one of her authors reserved English professor Willard Parker to shed his pseudonym from the steamy romance novel he's written and become an actor.

She operates under the thesis if you can write it, you an emote it. As it turns out beneath the shy exterior of the professor lies a budding Errol Flynn.

Russell's high powered agent complements beautifully the slow paced and unhurried pace of Brian Aherne. Her big problem is she might just have fallen for her own creation in Parker.

The ever wise Aherne realizes that Roz will inevitably grasp they are meant for each other.

It's all a bit silly, but the leads do carry it off. After over 70 years What A Woman still holds up beautifully.
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edwagreen23 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
What a whirlwind of a movie! Rosalind Russell portrays a fast-talking movie-agent who discovers that a meek college professor wrote a racy book and that he looks like the major character depicted in the book and she gets him to try out for the part in the film.

While this is going on, Brian Aherne, as a magazine writer, pursues Russell continuously.

The best part of the film is when after being at a Turkish bath with Aherne, the college professor experiences a total change in personality and goes after Russell since he has really fallen for her.

Movie made during World War 11. What a great way to get everyone's mind off,if but temporary, from the real world.
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Roz at her Best
gudpaljoey-7858218 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I don't know how anyone cannot like 'What a Woman.' I thought it was a very funny, delightfully insane romp, made possible by the wonderful Roz Russell playing the role of a powerful comedic woman, a role that she plays better than anyone else, and that included Mss. Shearer, Harlow, and Stanwyck. The rest of the cast had a hard time keeping up with her, but mostly did. I had to suspend belief over the rush to the wedding near the end of the flic, and I needed a few more hints as to why Mr. Ahearn was falling in love with her. There were enough good lines for all concerned to make me give a hoot about the writing of a genre film hat had not quite become a genre.
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