The Opposite Sex (1956) Poster

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"This is 5th Avenue...where women who can't afford to shop here come to watch women who can!"
TJBNYC27 July 2001
Remakes are usually a bad idea. Musical remakes are usually a VERY bad idea. Case in point: "The Women," in its original 1939 form, is a certified classic of brittle bitchiness and acidic wit. Moreover, it also happens to be very, very funny. "The Opposite Sex," its 1956 Technicolor incarnation, is witless and brainless, and also happens to be very, very funny--unintentionally. Mistake number one was remaking such a lauded film in the first place; mistake number two was adding men to the cast (the original was entirely female--down to the authors of the books in library scenes); and mistake number three was including ludicrous song and dance numbers. Mistakes number four and five, respectively, are June Allyson and Joan Collins, subbing for Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford. Allyson's wholesome persona actually isn't too bad for the role, but she can't act her way out of a paper bag. Collins, on the other hand, is glorious to look at, but has none of the bite and venom that Crawford brought to the table (obviously, by the time "Dynasty" came along, Collins had learned her lessons well). Ann Miller pinch hits for Paulette Goddard, and is her usual sassy self; but why is she not dancing in this so-called musical? The divine Dolores Gray comes off best as the catty Sylvia; where Rosalind Russell played her as a shrieking harpy, Dolores prefers a silkier approach. If she doesn't approach the virtuosity of Russell's performance, Gray at least injects some sorely-needed sophisticated bitchery to the proceedings. Finally, there's the ever-dependable Joan Blondell (although the fact that post-menopausal Blondell is supposed to be constantly pregnant tests one's suspension of disbelief) and an incredibly butch-looking Ann Sheridan, several years past her "Tobacco Road" prime. Really, there are two prime reasons to watch this mess: the insanely phallic calypso musical extravaganza, and the gloriously gaudy fashion show that the ladies put on for nearly 2 dizzying hours. Those looking for Clare Booth Luce's marvelous wit, look elsewhere. For those looking for glamorous, campy entertainment with no thought required--pop this baby in.
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Not as bad as many have claimed.
lavashop18 January 2007
I have to say I am baffled by the trashing of this film. Are we watching the same movie? I have watched both The Women and The Opposite Sex, all within the span of a week on Turner Classic and though the Women was cleverer, The Opposite Sex was not really in the "Chopped Liver" category either.

Yes, it's true. Given a choice, I would rather watch The Women too.

But the Opposite Sex has adequate acting, women in gorgeous gowns and sticks quite faithfully to the original story-line whereby the 1st Wife gets her revenge against the 2nd wife. Who doesn't love the lucked-out-housewife-wins-the-day-story-line? I know I do.

And I do enjoy looking at Jeff Richards as the hunky singing cowboy, Buck.

If you have the time, why not check it out yourself.
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Why? More importantly, WHY???
bronty4 October 2005
At nearly every turn, you'll hear the same thing, repeated ad nauseum: "Why can't Hollywood come up with something original?" If you think that sentiment is something new for this generation, all you need do is catch this the next time it's on Turner Classic Movies (or on DVD) and you'll discover a lack of originality is hardly New Age. MGM, for whatever reason, apparently decided to remake one of THE classic comedies of ANY age, let alone the 1930's, Clare Boothe Luce's "The Women", directed by George Cukor (perhaps the best director of women ever) starring Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, veteran scene-stealer Rosalind Russell, and a whole crew of other very talented actresses. In the original, as it is already well-known, men may have been the topic of every conversation but NEVER were they shown on-screen (right down to the books, all written by women). The writing was arguably the crispest, sharpest, wittiest, played to the nth degree by a sterling cast and guided by peerless direction. Alas, in this remake, you get none of that. It's hard, really, to begin to say just WHERE the problem lies, but I'll start with the mildest offender: the men, absent on-screen in the original, are now on display for all to see and this twist does little, if anything, to help. Oh, sure: Leslie Nielsen is quite a hunk and does as well as anyone probably could with such a one-dimensional character, but he is the ONLY male to make any impact whatsoever, apart from Jeff Richards, who plays Buck, an ambitious country singer who's more than willing to help divorcees-in-the-making get over their pains: Richards is totally bland as can be, with a hilariously inept "southern" accent to boot. Then there's the direction: where's George Cukor when you need him?!?!? David Miller, as one look at his list of directorial duties will immediately make clear, wasn't exactly a Golden Boy when it came to helming films; save for two or three films, none of the movies he helped bring to the screen can even come close to being called "classics" and most are probably well-forgotten, a batting average well on display here, for the film as a whole is just THERE, rudderless and bereft of a sure hand. The screenplay also takes a handful of liberties with Clare Boothe Luce's classic, throwing in some "modern" twists and changing things about, here and there, and the effect is lethal. (Characters are melded into one, or used sparingly, or cut entirely.) And then there's the music - oh, the music! Oddly, though this is, officially, a musical, there really isn't much music to be found, which, judging by what music IS offered, ain't such a terrible thing: in a song-within-a-play number, Dick Shawn oversells it all, practically knocking the audience over the head; in another number, Joan Collins, as the man-stealing hussy once played by Joan Crawford, is asked to do the simplest dance moves and is as stiff as a board (it's a hoot!); the aforementioned Jeff Richards also offers up a number, the unforgettable "Rock and Roll Tumbleweed", the title of which provides you with all you need to know. The worst, though, is the film's star, June Allyson, whose husky voice seems perpetually off-key in EVERY tune. Allyson is also a major liability in other aspects: while I'm sure she's the sweetest person in real life, she was NEVER a very good actress, and CERTAINLY all wrong for the role of a goody-two-shoes wife whose husband leaves her for another, more exciting woman, a role originally portrayed by Norma Shearer. Where Shearer added bite to her performance, Allyson smiles stoically and offers moist eyes to the heavens, as if expecting a halo to suddenly appear atop her head, a head already bedecked with a severe, matronly 'do that is NOT flattering to a woman who's too old for the part to begin with (and if Allyson WASN'T too old for the part, well, honey, she LOOKS it!). Also a sore disappointment is Joan Collins, already type-cast, perhaps, as a tart, but those expecting "Dynasty"-style bitchiness should look elsewhere: Collins is a novice, and, while physically stunning, is too much the novice to really sink her teeth into the dialogue, which she rushes through as if she has somewhere else to be. She tries but it's no cigar. No cigar, indeed! Ann Sheridan is sympathetic as Allyson's truest friend but she's given almost nothing to do except look as butch as possible. (She's probably supposed to be an amalgamation of Shearer's mother and the "old maid" - read: lesbian - columnist from the original.) Joan Blondell is a welcome sight as the ever-pregnant friend but as another reviewer has so adeptly noticed, she's also a bit long-in-the-tooth for her role. Ann Miller, in the Paulette Goddard role, and Agnes Moorehead, as the Countess, do as well as they can, and aren't bad, really, but are really also given very little to do; in the case of Miller, it's mind-boggling WHY, in a musical, of all things, she's just there to model clothes. Only Dolores Gray, as sniveling weasel Sylvia Fowler, comes close to reaching the level expected by fans of "The Women", but she's still at a loss, thanks to a terrible script and fellow performers who just aren't up to the task. A director who doesn't care, stars woefully miscast, laughable musical moments, and an interminable pace all spell disaster. The only worthwhile aspect of sitting through it is as a period piece, a curiosity piece, a campy number or two, and to see a pre-"Dynasty" Joan Collins. Otherwise, a two-hour snooze-fest. You've been warned.
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Women Behaving Badly
dougdoepke21 January 2010
No need to compare this stand-alone with the original. MGM's wardrobe department must have worked overtime. The ladies-- and there are many-- get to model all the high fashion of 1956, and some outfits are real doozies. But then this is a tell-all musical remake about sophisticated Manhattan show people from influential author Luce who certainly should know. You may need a scorecard, however, to keep up with the rotating relationships among the high class types.

I expect the film sets feminist teeth on edge now with its depiction of women as either maliciously catty (Gray & Collins) or catty as a defensive measure (Allyson, Blondell, & Sheridan). And that's when they're not chasing after men on whom it appears they're emotionally dependent. I imagine that if the movie were made today, key changes would be made.

That's not to say this Technicolor candy box isn't entertaining. It is at least campy fun, although the musical numbers are mostly forgettable. Instead, it's the characters that are irresistible, particularly Gray as the queen of acid gossip; Collins as the ruthless husband stealer; and Richards as the dude ranch stud. It's also a well-honed supporting cast, down to a blondined henchwoman Carolyn Jones. Unfortunately, it's also a rather dour June Allyson, a long way from her usual verve and sparkle.

But the high-point may well be the biggest no-holds-barred brawl between two women (Miller and Gray) that I've seen. Stand aside John Wayne and the rest of the macho brawlers because this one is worthy of the best smoke-filled bar room. I don't know if stunt doubles filled in, but somebody deserved a fat paycheck. Anyway, if you don't mind seeing women behaving badly 1950's style, this well-upholstered confection deserves a look-see.
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Not a terrible remake
sylkenvelvet11 July 2005
This 1950's version of the 1930's "The Women" was updated quite a bit. The ideals of the 1950's show up, along with the new male characters (who were never seen in the original)and the fashion.

Actually, while "The Women" is dated, too, the dialog is sharper and the characters much more fun. Joan Crawford beats Joan Collins easily as the vamp, and Rosalind Russell eats up scenery. Of course, Leslie Nelson back in his hunky leading man days is plenty of fun. This version is a little more moralistic, with more hand wringing and melodramatic action. And the addition of the male characters really isn't that much of a plus. Sometimes the comic action is overboard.

All in all, not a bad movie, but if you really want to see action, catch "The Women" instead.
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Watch and make your own choice!!One of my favs!!
jlace2430 January 2010
This is one of my favorite movies since I was a kid. The bad reviews it gets here blow my mind. The cast was excellent in my opinion and the adding of the men unlike "The Woman" is great to me. Leslie Nielson is crazy hot and so is the guy who plays Buck. Also Joan Collins is indescribably hotter than Joan Crawford as Crystal Allen and fits the part perfect. Another question for me is who doesn't think June Allyson is adorable and The Countess is wonderful?? This is obviously one of those movies that you should see for yourself and make your own opinion because they vary drastically from person to person. Me my two sisters, my mother & my Grandmother have loved this movie our whole lives!! The remake of The Woman most recently (2008) is what was ridiculous and not worth watching, I mean they made The Countess a pothead and they wrote Meg Ryans part as just a pathetic female with no life or goals!!! Now thats a sad reproduction!!!
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And another thing...
sorrelloriginals30 August 2019
I have read carefully all of the reviews posted here and I agree very much with most of what has been said. It is problematic that some of these ladies were a little bit old for their parts. It is also clear that much talent has been wasted particularly in the cases of Ann Miller who does not get to dance and Dolores Gray who does not get to sing outside of the voiceover during the titles. Most people would not even notice that the great character actoress Celia Lovsky is given literally nothing to do except appear in one of the backstage scenes and speak one or two brief lines in the bedroom scene. Some of the tiniest details have been missmanaged such as the fact that when the character of Mary holds up her hand and declaims "Jungle Red !" her fingernails are not red at all. Of course the biggest problems are the script and the script and the script. The men and the musical numbers that have been inserted into the original storyline seem to be merely distract rather than enhance. If I try really hard and pretend that the original 1939 version does not exist then this movie can seems not so bad except that I have not really been able to convince even myself to stretch imagination that far. I also agree the one person who makes the most of of her part is Dolores Gray . Even the great Agnes Moorehead seems to be overacting dreadfully trying to make something out of nothing as the part of the Countess is woefully cut down. One thing that MGM really did manage to deliver is the look of this film. The set designers in general and the costume designer in particular really held up their end of the bargain.

But the point I really want to make is why I think this movie was even made at all. In my mind the only thing that makes any sense is that whatever deal they made with the author, Clare Booth Luce, allowed MGM to do so and they could get a few more bucks out of it which is really why most remakes are foisted upon us.

And another thing... If you compare The Opposite Sex to the latest remake- I think in 2008- it suddenly becomes brilliant! That abomination completely misses the point of the story that Miss Luce was trying to tell us. But that is another story entirely.
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You can't improve on perfection and this movie proves it!
mojo200411 July 2005
"The Women" is one of the true treasures of old black & white movies.There was not one role miscast and the snappy,witty script has not been duplicated in another all female movie and still holds up today!That said this movie is 100% miscast,misdirected and the script is dull & flat even though it includes many lines from the original play & movie.I really felt sorry for Ann Miller,wasted in the Paulette Goddard role who neither gets to sing nor dance in this musical remake! While the tone-deaf, off-key June Allyson(Norma Shearer she ain't) gets to sing a few songs while having no chemistry with Leslie.Another thing, who the heck decided to let the Sylvia Fowler character played here by Delores Gray and in 1939 by Rosalind Russell,hook-up with Buck Winston instead of the Countess played by Agnes Moorehead? Another great actress was wasted in her part along with Joan Blondell and Gray too for that matter.I agree with all previous comments that adding men did nothing and actually helped make a dull film duller if that's possible.Skip this tin horror and go for the 1939 gold medal original.
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a missed opportunity
didi-52 March 2003
This remake of The Women (1939) misses the boat for two main reasons - 1. it's too nice. Joan Crawford's Crystal Allen was far more acidic than Joan Collins' sweet little version 2. it casts loads of talented musical performers - and doesn't use them! Ann Miller, Joan Blondell, Ann Sheridan, Doleres Gray - all wasted. June Allyson is miscast as Kay Hilliard, a little long in the tooth for all this.

(Incidentally interesting to see Blondell and Allyson in the same film, considering their shared marital history off-screen as successive wives to Dick Powell).

Pros - the musical numbers aren't bad, if a bit on the camp side; it features a fashion parade throughout to die for; it's colourful.

Otherwise it rips off the original, adds songs and men, and messes the whole thing up. It's watchable, but Norma, Joan, Paulette, and Rosalind will remain the standard for this particular story.
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What a waste of talent! Shame on MGM
boughner18 November 1998
June Allyson's last MGM musical had to go back to a 40's film she starred in for its best number, though they sure tried hard to make a hit out of "Now, Baby, Now" - except Allyson isn't the sexy dancer the song called for. And Ann Miller never gets to sing or dance a step. Dolores Gray, used well in "It's Always Fair Weather" and "Kismet" (She single-handedly saves that one), gets to sing the title song over the credits, and nothing else. The useless male guest stars get half the songs and butcher them. The original script had it right - keep the guys off screen. Where was the creative talent that could have pulled the plug on this one or whipped it up into a reasonable shape?
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Such an inexplicable disappointment-----
Jack_Me7 October 2005
I, as many others here, was excited to learn of, and anxious to see this "musical remake" of The Women. But as my summary states, I found it to be such an inexplicable disappointment! Others here have said it better, so I'll just echo the complete bafflement of having stars of the caliber of Joan Greenwood and Ann Miller DO NOTHING AT ALL in the film! Amazing and so disappointing.

I'm afraid the root cause of this bomb is the choice of June Alyson for the lead. Frankly, Norma Shearer grates on me; I do not worship at her altar; however, she certainly brought enough depth of character to the original wonderful 1930s film to justify all the shenanigans of that film, which all revolved around her. What she did, what she didn't do, how she reacted, etc. In this sorry remake, that character as played by June Alyson is so boringly uninteresting. We can't see at all that the character's friends would react with such concern. Who cares is more the response given. And lets get this over with.

The pacing was excruciatingly slow and flat. The "humor" was pathetic. The pathos was humorous. And as has been pointed out, why? Why even call this thing a musical? In the '30s and '40s, there was often one or two musical "entertainments" worked into the film as incidentals or backgrounds, but that didn't justify calling them musicals! Yes, I'm afraid that this piece definitely needed a different more dynamic lead, and it also needed a much better director and/or editor to pick up the pace.

So disappointing. I can't even recommend it for the "period" costumes....though I must comment they were so "stunning" as to all seem like stage costumes! Boo-hoo. I thought I had discovered a new treasure to enjoy.
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The opposite effect
jotix10012 July 2005
Whoever thought a semi-musical remake of the classic George Cukor's film "The Women" was a good idea, didn't' think this misguided attempt was going to stand the passing of time. Alas, "The Opposite Sex" is a sad reminder not to try to do what already has been done, much better.

We had no inkling this was a remake when we watched a clip in the coming attractions shown by TCM recently. This 1956 MGM film, directed by David Miller, based on the screen play by Fay and Michael Kanin, seems to be a bad dream.

It's obvious, from the start, this is a bad adaptation of Clare Boothe Luce's play of the thirties when the voice over tells us there are millions of men in the island of Manhattan surrounded by strong women. Right away we meet Sylvia Fowler, who retained her name from the previous movie, as she is dishing with the manicurist Olga. As the name of Crystal Allen is heard, we knew what we were in for, because that is a classic name for one of the best known gold diggers of the thirties.

While "The Women" is light and fun, this installment, is obvious and heavy. There is also the problem of the men one sees throughout. In the earlier film we didn't get to see any! The story line has been kept, but in a way, it doesn't make much sense, as it shows it hasn't kept as well as the original.

June Allyson is Kay Hilliard. In a way, this woman jumps the gun in getting a divorce instead of fighting for her man, if she loved him at all. Of course, Ms. Luce's play was written that way, otherwise there wouldn't be a reason for the side trip to Reno, and the eventual reconciliation. Ms. Allyson was a bland presence in the films she appeared. She was always the good one who would sacrifice everything.

Dolores Gray is the bitchy Sylvia Fowler, the one that starts things going. Joan Blondell is the sweet Edith, the perennial mother, the only happily married woman of the lot. Ann Sheridan plays the sophisticated Amanda, Kay's true friend. Agnes Moorehead has some good moments as the Countess. Joan Collins as Crystal is not too effective in the film, as she hadn't refined her act as a villainess yet. Ann Miller is good as Gloria.

The supporting roles were fine, but they don't have much to do. A young Leslie Nielsen is Steve Hilliard. Carolyn Jones, Alice Pearce, Sam Levene, Bill Goodwin, Charlotte Greenwood, have good moments.

Our suggestion: Watch the original!
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why is everyone trashing this movie?
mpgmpg12312 January 2008
I don't know why so many people on here are trashing this film. Is it a classic movie, no. But is it so awful, no. It is a perfectly good, entertaining movie. I think Allyson, the perfect 50's movie wife, is cast well as Kay, who is a perfect wife who gets left. I thought it was a little inside 50s joke, here is the perfect wife being left. Anyway, she is good and yes she was not 20, but it is a wife role and her daughter is about 10. It is not a young woman's part, that is the whole point; the husband leaves her for a younger woman. Ann Miller, Agnes Moorehead, Ann Sheridan, Dolores Gray, Joan Collins are all great. Does Miller sing or dance, no. But maybe someone was thinking she was a good actress and funny with lines and could be in a movie and not tap dance. I am sure she was happy to be cast as an actress for once. She was always a very funny performer. So check the movie out for yourself, it is really pretty good (and nice to see Allyson in some pretty clothes after all those years of white blouses in movies).
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They could have skipped the men but still entertaining
jjnxn-130 April 2013
Having liked but not loved the original, although the cast was peerless, I found this revamp to be a decent view. Even though they should have left out the men and a few songs they still gathered together a terrific collection of actresses. All stand out in their own way with Ann Sheridan, a chic, knowing observer. Joan Collins is incredibly beautiful even if she plays a grasping tramp. Agnes Moorehead, Delores Gray, that's her singing the title tune, and Ann Miller all have flashy overdressed parts and they make the most of them. The real dynamic to watch out for is between June Allyson and Joan Blondell, they had both been married to Dick Powell-Joan first and then supposedly June snatched him away, who here play boon companions but in actuality spoke only on screen and avoided each other like the plague off. It's a testament to their skill and professionalism that they seem the best of chums. Missing the Cukor touch there is still much to entertain here.
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adalb1911 February 2008
OK. It isn't "The Women" but a very close runner-up. I think the casting for this film was fantastic. June Alyson is good - I do think her character of Kay could have probably been cast better. Also, the daughter is just a little to happy happy in this film...sort of annoying. Unlike "The Women" which is SO fast paced - you almost have to watch it more than once to understand connections. The Opposite Sex delivers the same humor and "venom" as it were between these women in a much slower paced and fashionable way. I think the musical numbers are cute - very 50's. The costumes/gowns are excellent..especially Kay's last gown in the Starlight Room...just fabulous! Of course it's the 50's - color films of the 50's are always great to watch and so vivid! I truly think it is difficult to compare this to The Women. I feel it's not about one being better than the other. They are too different to compare as they both have many advantages and are absolutely delightful.

Hello! Release this on DVD please!!!! Amazon should offer this boxed together with The Women.
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Glossy, flimsy and forgettable
moonspinner553 July 2006
Plush musical remake of 1939's "The Women", which in turn was based on Clare Booth Luce's catty play, about gossiping females in New York City getting involved in each other's love lives. Artificial fluff with a good cast (this time including males as well), but completely disposable and unmemorable, never offering up anything substantial. There's an unnecessary Broadway sub-plot shoehorned in as an excuse to feature several songs, and the script is arranged carefully so that each well-dressed lady gets a choice moment in the spotlight. June Allyson, playing the put-upon wife of Leslie Nielsen (!), gives the movie's best performance, although Joan Collins and Ann Miller certainly get their licks in. **1/2 from ****
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Wonderful Women
I saw this movie only a few days ago on TCM. I thought the women were wonderful. I'm an especially fond of Dalores Gray, did I say fond, I'm in love; she is fantastic looking and what a voice, although it is not used in this picture, except over the titles. Agnes Moorehead is also a looker. I seem to go for the hard faced type. June Allyson as the lead is not very good, compared to the other women including Ann Miller she is dull. The outfits the women wear are are great yet so implausible. In every scene, a different dress, this film is more a fashion parade of the 50's, than a true musical. Jeff Richards plays the cowboy flirt well and has a song of his own although I not sure if his own voice is used. But for me this movies main delight is Dalores Gray. I am surprised how few films she made, yet in each she made an outstanding impact. I didn't realize just how long Jone Collins has been around. I thought she played the gold digger perfectly.
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Dreadful. shrill and witless musical remake deserves obscurity...
Doylenf26 August 2006
What were they thinking? Here we have a witless musical version of THE WOMEN without a single decent tune. A cast of fairly competent actors without a shred of polish in the finished product. A remake of Claire Booth Luce's "The Woman" with the vacuous men now on display too--but what dull men. And the heroine is JUNE ALLYSON doing her dullest Goody-Two- Shoes routine in the Norma Shearer role of the victimized wife.

I can't offer any praise on any aspect of this dreadful remake. No one deserves credit for all the changes made in the story in order to accommodate a few musical numbers that have no sparkle at all.

JEFF RICHARDS as "Buck" has a handsome face and acts acceptably but his role is ludicrous when he has to sing and strum a guitar like a lovestruck cowboy. LESLIE NIELSEN is likewise at sea in the role of Allyson's husband. The only performer who seems to know that she's in a remake of "The Women" is DOLORES GRAY who does a nice bitchy turn as Sylvia Fowler. JOAN COLLINS is less than impressive as Crystal (the Joan Crawford shop-girl role). ANN SHERIDAN is totally wasted.

None of it really jells. The songs are best forgotten and the acting is as limp and uninspired as the script. None of the bite of the original is present.

Sorry, but this deserves every bit of obscurity it has.
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Claws Growing in Jungle Red again
bkoganbing2 October 2017
My main problem with this musical remake version of The Women is that it was not just confined to The Opposite Sex. When Clare Booth Luce wrote her original work with only female roles it was not just as a gimmick. She wanted her viewers to use their imaginations especially in the roles of the husbands as to what these men were like and whether The Women should let them go or fight for them.

That is now lost with the men being flesh and blood now. Leslie Nielsen in the role of Steven Hilliard (formerly Haines) is in an impossible job and he comes off as insipid. One wonders whether June Allyson wants him back for himself or just to reassemble the American family for the sake of her daughter Sandy Descher.

Jeff Richards can't compare to the imaginary Buck Winston we have in our minds from the first version. In fact he's more Joe Buck than Buck Winston.

Joan Collins in her salad years is just getting into those femme fatal roles she took out a patent on. Of course she's no Joan Crawford, but who is. And Dolores Gray carries right on from where Rosalind Russell left of as Sylvia Fowler.

No great songs from writers Nicholas Brodzsky and Sammy Cahn are in this score.

It's not a bad film, but in comparison to the original this is like a summer stock production.
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utgard1417 November 2013
Apathetic musical remake of 1939 classic The Women. Despite addition of songs and technicolor it actually winds up being less interesting than the original. If anything the 1950s trappings hurt the film. '50s films often had a stuffiness about them, due to the conservative fashions I suppose. Anyway this one has an OK cast but it's not a patch on the original. Ann Sheridan and Joan Blondell, two of my faves, were past their primes by 1956 unfortunately. Still, Sheridan probably stands out most of this cast. June Allyson is not an actress I was ever very big on and that opinion doesn't change with this performance. And what was with that terrible makeup they had her wearing in the second half of this movie? Yuck. Joan Collins gets the juiciest role here. The same role Joan Crawford did so well at in the 1939 film. Well I think just stating the obvious -- that Joan Collins is no Joan Crawford -- should suffice as a criticism. In short this is a bland remake of a very good film. See it for the assembled stars and curiosity factor but do yourself a favor and see The Women first.
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Some stories just don't need to be musicalized.
mark.waltz20 October 2013
Warning: Spoilers
As entertaining as this is (and remarkably well cast although a few talents are greatly wasted), when you compare this to the original screen version of "The Women", you just have to ask yourself "why?". There's a bit of irony in this though which makes it more a curiosity piece considering some of the casting, particularly two Mrs. Dick Powell's, the former (Joan Blondell) and the current (June Allyson), sharing a few scenes as social acquaintances yet not the best of friends. Allyson has taken over the Mary Haines role and now she is a former nightclub singer who gave it all up to marry Leslie Nielsen ("Shirley, you can't be serious!") and raise their daughter. He is bored and takes up with Joan Collins' Crystal Allen (Ironic considering her rivalry with Krystal on "Dynasty"), a showgirl who is roommates with the future Morticia Adams and briefly Mrs. Aaron Spelling (Carolyn Jones) and performs with her in a musical revue that gives the pregnant Blondell morning sickness after eating a huge banana split and having to view the tacky production number "Trees de Banana".

If that isn't enough, there's future "Depends" commercial star Allyson singing a song called "Cling to Me" in a horrid looking pants suit (of course complete with "Peter Pan Collar"). At least she gets to reprise "The Young Man With a Horn" as she had in 1944's "Two Girls and a Sailor", once again accompanied by Harry James on his trumpet. Dick Shawn joins Collins, Jones and Jim Backus in the tacky title song in which Backus gets to be amusing giving us his Thurston Howell/Mr. Magoo laugh. Dolores Gray, singing the title song over the opening credits, takes on the Rosalind Russell role, and is the one who ends up marrying Buck Winston rather than the countess, played here straight by Agnes Moorehead. Ann Miller as chorus girl Miriam Aarons has no musical number whatsoever, ending her MGM contract on a sour note, yet at least gets a great catfight with Gray.

By this time, the MGM musical was a "hit" ("High Society") or "miss" (this), resulting to remaking their old masterpieces either for the big screen or T.V. ("The Thin Man"), and with many of their contract players on their way out the door (this was long after Louis B. Mayer had left, although he was attempting a take-over around the time this came out), and it is sad to realize that their golden era wasn't quite over but yet never the same as it had been under the old master. A few more musicals and some biblical epics and film versions of Broadway plays would keep MGM a major player, but with T.V. keeping viewers away, it was obvious that they would never recapture the former glory.
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Wretched in every way
barrymn116 November 2013
I'm not a big fan of MGM's classic splashy musicals, but this one is really such a load of poorly written crapola. Of course, the basic story is great; a groundbreaking Broadway play that ran 666 performances, and an even better 1939 film.

To my eyes, everything's wrong with this stinker.

And, I'm not the only who feels this way...just read most of the other reviews!

Only Agnes Moorehead gets the chance to give a good performance; a sophisticated type of part she was not offered too much.

Everyone else is quite horrible.
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Why TV Almost Put Movies Out of Business
silasmrner29 August 2019
Banal, corny script. Musical numbers and dance routine totally forgettable. June here on the brink of being too old for her past cutesy image which carried her box office success of the 40s and early 50s in a succession of lightweight fare.
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Take one down . . .
pixrox118 November 2013
Warning: Spoilers
. . . and pass him around, and we'll all be happy again. THE OPPOSITE SEX is sort of like a husband-swapping club, circa 1956, complete with a Reno Dudette ranch where rich soon-to-be ex-wives have 42 days to try out the latest in Boy Toys if they are caught between Sugar Daddies. High Society is so exclusive that social climbing is virtually impossible, as the "Crystal" character finds out here. Even though Crystal spends most of THE OPPOSITE SEX in various bath tubs, she cannot clean the dirt of her humble origins from her soul. At least that seems to be the main message of this so-called "women's film," in which the Rich Bi*Ches run an exclusive guild which quickly isolates and destroys any would-be gate-crashers, such as Crystal. The Ladies Powder Room is run more like a Texas slaughterhouse. Take it from me (and I toured one in Abilene): THE OPPOSITE SEX is NOT for weak stomachs; you may not like seeing how they make sausage. But for the braver gals, it's loads of fun!
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Pretty much worthless
Maciste_Brother8 October 2011
This glossy musical remake of THE WOMEN, the famous movie which featured a women-only cast, is nothing short of a complete disaster. This film is pretty much toothless and almost completely miscast. June Allyson? Yikes. She looks like a drip throughout the film. Hair, posture, etc, as appealing as a bowl of oatmeal. Granted, Norma Shearer wasn't the scorching beauty in THE WOMEN but she looked, eh, healthy. June looks a bit sick here. In the original, Sylvia was played by Rosalind Russell who almost stole every scene she was in. In this remake, Dolores Gray is Sylvia and looks like an embalmed drag queen-looking mummy. The only good bit of casting was having Joan Collins in the role made famous by Joan Crawford. Whenever Collins is not in the film, the film flat-lines, literally. She's the only spark in this wet firecracker, as clichéd as it is for her to play the conniving man-hungry uber bitch. Remarkably, having men in the film almost added nothing except for handsome Jeff Richards who doesn't have much to do but look good. Leslie Nielsen is wasted and not very convincing. June Allyson and Nielsen as a married couple? Bleech.

Some scenes are lifted directly from THE WOMEN, like the bathtub scene. Some things that sorta worked back in the 1930s simply do not work in 1956. The entire Reno bit is truly tired and should have been re-written for the 1950s.

Oddly enough, this is a musical remake, probably just to accommodate June, and the musical scenes are mostly horrendous. The bit with Dick Shawn is painful to watch. The whole "Now, Baby, Now" with June singing with a bunch of gyrating male dancers is inexplicable. It's so odd it becomes brilliant if viewed as a total curio. You really wonder what they were thinking.

Watching the film, with the characters trying to be classy and the rich types, moving within the tacky studio sets, the overdone gowns and all that stuff and I sorta realized how Hollywood had a truly warped Waspy vision of the world. The end result makes Hollywood look like a playground for philandering film producers who wanted to be surrounded by what they thought were the beautiful people but in reality it was more on the corny & garishly gay side. Dreadful.
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