For my 30th post (whoo hoo) I thought it was time to bring out the best movie ever made on this planet. "The Women". Ohh how I love this movie, I can never stop raving about it! Every actress in the film is female. Even the animals used in the film, all female. Even the artwork in the background, all female. You will see nothing male in this film, but as the tagline says, "It's all about men!"
This film starts out at the nail salon where the 'ladies who lunch' get beautified. The salon and all other sets where done by my favorite oldie production designer, Cedric Gibbons (Ok, a few men worked on this film). The gossip is flying and rumors are stirring. You meet Sylvia Fowler, played by the exquisite Rosalind Russell. She wears amazing hats in this film and plays the big mouth, and my favorite.
While gabbing to her manicurist, Sylvia overhears a story about her friend Mary Haines'(Norma Shearer)husband stepping out with a perfume counter broad. Being the good friend that she is, she tells some of her other friends when lunching at Mary's later in the afternoon. But not Mary.
Mary learns that Stephen, her dog house husband, can't make it home from work and she is super bummed. Sylvia recommends Mary go see her nail gal and tells her to get the latest shade, "Jungle Red". Mary goes the following day and learns the truth herself. She knows all her pals know and aren't telling her.
Meanwhile, Sylvia and her gals go snoop around to find this mistress named Crystal Allen (Joan Crawford, naturally) behind the perfume counter. The cattiness begins and eventually Mary and Crystal meet face to face in one of the best scenes in the picture. Mary is distraught, especially when she learns the tart is hanging out with her husband and their daughter. Sylvia tries to help Mary but Mary won't have it.
Time goes by...Crystal marries Stephen for his money and he divorces Mary. She goes off to Reno and meets a bunch of other fabulous characters who are also getting divorced. Sylvia joins them as Mr. Fowler has requested a divorce. One of the new broads at the ranch, Miriam (Paulette Goddard), is secretly dating Sylvia's man and they get in a great cat fight. Rosalind really bites Paulette in this scene and gives her a scar that will last the rest of her life!
Mary meets sweet divorcee Peggy (Joan Fontaine) who wants her man back since she is knocked up. They re-unite which makes Mary wish she could swallow her pride and get Stephen back. Crystal is unhappy with Stephen and tells Sylvia who is her new BFF. Check out the amazing clear bathtub Crystal hangs out in!
Mary learns that her ex is unhappy and tells her mother she has grown claws (Jungle Red) and is going to go after her man at a huge party where all the gals will be. In the end, everyone cheats on everyone and everyone gets bitchy with each other. Joan says my favorite line in the film, "There is a name for you, ladies, but it isn't used in high society...outside of a kennel."
Some other amazing parts of this film is the technicolor fashion show that appears in the middle of the film.
My favorite outfit of all is Rosalind's at the beginning. If I could re-create this I would. It has eyeballs on it. Stunning!
It wasn't all fun and games on the set, however. Roz wanted top billing and Norma said no. Roz called in sick every day until Norma agreed to it. Norma and Joan also had a huge rivalry since the beginning of Joan's career. Neither of them would enter the sound stage first and would drive around in their cars waiting for the other to step out first. Director George Cukor finally had to go out side and pull them out and ask them to behave.
When that stupid re-make with Meg Ryan came out I gritted my teeth and rented it. Uhgg. I wanted to cry. Nothing can compare to the fine casting, acting, costumes, set design, directing, and writing that this 1939 film portrays. If you have never seen it, go rent it right now, I promise you will love it!