The Women (1939)

  • I’ve been wanting to re-watch this for awhile; the first time I saw it I was probably 14 or 15, and the only actress I recognized was Rosalind Russell (because I’d seen HIS GIRL FRIDAY (1940)). In the years that have passed, my movie knowledge (especially when it comes to this era) has greatly increased, and I’ve come to adore a lot of the actresses that serve as the primary cast members…thus, I am giving this film another shot! And I’m quite excited about it.
  • Clever idea for the opening credits – introducing the characters with pictures of their animal equivalents (Norma Shearer is a doe, Joan Crawford is a leopard, Rosalind Russell is a cat, etc.). With so many cast members, it helps to establish some familiarity & some concept of the types of people we’re getting ourselves involved with, right from the start. I love it.
  • Sylvia (Russell) gets her nails painted with the color Jungle Red. I wish I could see that color. It sounds sassy, and I love sassy nail polish colors.
  • Poor Mary (Shearer). Stephen’s having an affair with a girl who sells perfume at “Blacks 5th Avenue.” That blows!
  • “This story isn’t new – it comes to most women. Stephen is a man – you’ve been married ten years. He’s tired of himself.”

“…We women are so much more sensitive – when we tire of ourselves, we change the way we do our hair, or hire a new cook, or decorate the house.” — Mary’s mother.

GROAN on a stick.

I would say that I’d like to see Mary give him a taste of his own medicine – you know, an eye for an eye & all of that – but I suppose we’ve already seen that story play out with Shearer (and Chester Morris and Robert Montgomery) in THE DIVORCEE (1930).

  • Norma Shearer is fantastic in the phone scene with Stephen after her visit with her mother. What a keeper she is!
  • I hate when movies are interrupted with weird-ass fashion show scenes. I’m fast-forwarding. Just like I do during the SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN (1952) one.
  • So…now I remember why this movie didn’t really click with me – there’s something very un-genuine about the way all of these women interact with each other. And I don’t mean that in the sense that they gossip all the time & have their own secret agendas – I just don’t buy these as real people and real relationships. The concepts of them of course exist in real life – but the way their parts are written makes the characters extremely difficult to relate to. There’s no heart or soul in any of their dialogue – they just talk to say words.
  • This movie is supposed to be funny, right? This movie isn’t funny.
  • The Haines’ maid & cook seem real. I like them.
  • Normally I like Virginia Weidler (Little Mary), but she is ANNOYING as FUCK in this. Every times she comes on screen I want to mute the TV (and/or reach through the screen & slap her).
  • The Mary/Miriam (Paulette Goddard)/Peggy (Joan Fontaine) friendship that develops is a good one. It’s a shame that it takes so little precedence in the film, because it actually seems like a believable (& potentially well-developed) female relationship.
  • I hate a lot about this movie, and it was a waste of time to watch it again. The messages it sends not only about wives’ reactions to their husbands’ affairs, but also about the behaviors at the core of female friend groups are horrid – and because of that, I hate that this movie is often referenced as some sort of triumph for femininity (due to its no-men-in-sight cast), because hey, guess what – it’s NOT.
  • People need to stop showing this movie to their young daughters, right along with motherfucking GIGI (1958).
  • I have to stop writing now. I’m getting too pissed off.
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