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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 »
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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 Female Of The Species . . . when the men aren't watching ! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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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

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

Black and White | Color (Technicolor) (one sequence)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"George Cukor told Rosalind Russell to play the part of Sylvia very broad. 'Because in this picture Sylvia's breaking up a family and there's a child involved....' "

The character who is "breaking up a family" is Crystal, the shop clerk, played by Joan Crawford.

The text about Cukor and Russell may refer to Sylvia arranging for Mary to hear about her husband's infidelity from the manicurist. See more »

Goofs

While Miriam Aarons is in the process of convincing the Countess De Lave to romantically pursue cowboy Buck Winston (specifically urging the Countess to put him into radio), the Countess appears to refer to him as "Buck Newport." However, she actually says, "I fear I'd never make a success of Buck at Newport," referring to the Newport Music Club, which would later give rise to the Newport Music, Jazz, and Folk Festivals. See more »

Quotes

Sylvia Fowler: Oh, you remember the awful things they said about what's-her-name before she jumped out the window? There. You see? I can't even remember her name so who cares?
See more »

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

Referenced in Hollywood Hist-o-Rama: Norma Shearer (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain When She Comes
(uncredited)
Traditional
Played as background music for Marjorie Main's photo credit
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Best of the Best!
4 November 1999 | by guil12See all my reviews

This, by far, is the greatest classic bitch film of all time. It can never be equaled. They tried, but failed, when trying to remake it a musical with a less than glamorous casting of the roles made famous by the all-star female cast of the original written by Clare Boothe Luce. George Cukor, the director, had his hands full with the likes of these dames of fame. Each, in their own right, could steal a scene if left up to them, and they tried. But Cukor, held tight to the reins and kept them all in line. The beginning credits were cleverly done with each star being represented by an animal. Norma Shearer, the doe; the delicious Joan Crawford, a tiger; Roz Russell a cat; Paulette Goddard, a fox; Marjorie Main, a mule; Joan Fontaine, a lamb.

My favorite scenes were the fight scene with Goddard and Russell, bath scene with Crawford, and last scene when all THE WOMEN go at it at the ball. With wonderful, crisp dialogue, beautiful costumes designed by Adrian and a stellar cast, you can see the sparks fly in this all-time classic comedy of 1939.


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