"There's a word for you ladies, but it is seldom used in high society, outside of a kennel."
- Joan Crawford (Crystal Allen)
Uncut - 12/01/2004
"[A] goldmine of razor-sharp insults and catty put-downs....THE WOMEN is unscrupulous, wicked and acid."
Set in a 1930s Manhattan milieu of idle socialites and gossip, George Cukor's THE WOMEN is an opulent rendition of the Clare Boothe Luce play. While no men appear in the film, they are grist for the mill in the social circle of Mary Haines (Norma Shearer) and her catty clique of high-society wives. However, Mary's tidy world is turned upside down when she accidentally learns of her husband's philandering. Crystal Allen (Joan Crawford), a vicious vixen and ruthless gold digger, has set her sights on Mary's husband; Mary initially plays right into her hands, but soon, with the advice and support of comrades experienced in the art of woman-to-woman combat, Mary decides she won't give up without a fight. The tale's semiregressive premise has been criticized for this reason, yet this does not overshadow the host of exceptional performances and the range of complex relationships the film presents. As a fantasy of a women-only world of glamour, idle pleasures, and raw sexual competition, the film has enjoyed a cult following--owing, no doubt, in part to a hard-as-nails performance by Crawford that was credited with reviving her career.
A no-holds-barred comedy about the eternal battle of the sexes (both inter- and intragender) and starring Joan Crawford and Norma Shearer, THE WOMEN is based on the play by Clare Boothe Luce and is set in high-society 1930s New York. Although no men appear in the film, they are its primary subject matter--cheating men, in particular--and hell hath no fury like a group of women scorned....!
Essential Cinema |
George Cukor directed THE WOMEN after being dismissed from the helm of GONE WITH THE WIND.
There were 135 women in the cast and not a single man.
Cukor finally accepted studio calls to have a fashion show interlude in the film; the fashion show is in color.
Cukor made three films with Joan Crawford.
Joan Crawford and Norma Shearer had a long rivalry at MGM.
Clare Boothe, writer of THE WOMEN, went on to marry the founder of Time magazine.
THE WOMEN was remade as THE OPPOSITE SEX in 1956 starring June Allyson and Joan Collins.