Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Women (1939)

The Women is one of my all-time favorites. Featuring an all-female cast, the plot centers around sweet Mary Haines (Norma Shearer) and her marriage woes. Mr. Haines has been going around with a viper of a shopgirl (Joan Crawford), and all of Mary's friends are eagerly watching and gossiping about the downfall of their friend's perfect marriage. Doesn't sound like a comedy, does it?

There are a lot of fabulous performances in this film, especially from Rosalind Russell, the biggest busybody of the lot. The tone is very cheeky (the opening credits feature the women as animals first to get an idea of their character...sweet Mary is a deer, and the evil Crystal is a leopard) and the dialogue CRACKLES. It's old-school bitchery at its best. "There's a name for you ladies, but it isn't used in high society...outside of a kennel." I can't even begin to list all of the delicious zings, comebacks and one-liners, but they are plentiful and before you can say "Oh no she didn't" there's another! I could go on and on about this movie...the overtly feminine settings, Paulette Godard's faaaabulous hair, the technicolor fashion show, Virginia Weidler's delightfully campy performance as Mary Haines's daughter, the all-out catfight...but I'll just recommend it and be on my way.

I haven't seen the remake (nor do I intend to) but I always believe in giving the originals a chance! Go see it!

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