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Female [VHS]

4.3 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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(Sep 01, 1998)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Ruth Chatterton, George Brent, Lois Wilson, Johnny Mack Brown, Ruth Donnelly
  • Directors: Michael Curtiz, William A. Wellman, William Dieterle
  • Format: Black & White, NTSC
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: MGM (Warner)
  • VHS Release Date: September 1, 1998
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6302682525
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #270,695 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on August 30, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
A funny, fascinating role-reversal yarn. Ruth Chatterton, once known as one of the finest actresses of the early talkie era, plays Alison Drake, who runs a major automobile company with an iron hand - and tries to conduct her love life the same way....Then independent-minded George Brent (her real-life spouse at the time) comes along. Ruth falls for the guy so hard, that she promotes him to being the boss of the company, admitting that it's a man's job, after all. The set design is incredibly lavish: watch for the organist perched in Chatterton's entrance foyer! According to modern sources, the shots of the heroine's house were filmed at the Ennis House in the Hollywood Hills - which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Included in the cast are some familiar faces: Sterling Holloway, Laura Hope Crews, Rafaela Ottiano, Jean Muir & Irving Bacon. A fine early example of chauvinistic filmmaking.
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Ruth Chatterton, an actress which I had only seen in one of my very, very favorite films of all time, William Wyler's masterpiece, "Dosworth" (her best-known movie), carries this picture, which stands remarkably well the "test of time", in a different kind of role and not only that: in "Dodsworth" she was the wife of a small-town automobile tycoon, here she is the ruthless, sexually liberated, Automobile Company Tycoon, herself.

In this flick, she manages her company, with no holds-barred, with a hand of steel, surrounded by handsome young men, who are discarded, one after the other, when they have served "her leisure purposes". A refreshing role-reversal (an very daring then), with a woman "on top". She has all the POWER.

But then comes (then-husband in real life) George Brent, who impersonates an independent-minded executive, who changes Chatterton's life...as she were expecting such dominant male?.

Nice support by Johnny Mack Brown, Gavin Gordon and Philip Reed (a "very naive" young man or something "else"? (as stated in Vieira's book "Sin in Soft Focus", a must read for Pre-Code Fans), as some of the men, who are invited to "have dinner with her", at her lavish, very luxurious house. Ravishing clothes by Orry-Kelly.

In all, a compelling, entertaining film, with fast-talking entrepreneur Chatterton in top form.

You won't regret buying this great Pre-Code.

P.S. Look for Ferdinand Gottschalk as her (Chatterton's) elder assistant, who gives a very funny performance and delivers some highly-amusing lines.
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I enjoyed this very much. It is interesting what went on in these pre-production code films. This is a powerful woman who knows how to get what she wants, and even has amazing gadgetry to help her! Life in the thirties was very different, but we humans may be very much the same in how our minds work. Enjoy.
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Wonderful pre-Code film with a woman boss of a car company who uses her male employees like Kleenex! Ok, sounds sexist, but it's a great role reversal and very ahead of its time. She lives in the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Ennis Brown house, which was new at the time. Probably its first appearance on film. Sadly it doesn't get featured, and the pool scenes use a fake square concrete bricked replica backdrop. Clean-shaven George Brent is the first man to stand up to the lady boss, and he delivers some real whammy lines. Visually it is almost like an ad for Art Deco style. Of course it's rather corny, especially the ending, but if you enjoy pre-Code, role reversal, and/or just Art Deco design, you'll want to see this.
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Ruth Chatterton stirred the censors in the 1933 pre-code favourite FEMALE, the story of a woman who conducts her lovelife as matter-of-factly as she does her large industrial empire.

Alison Drake (Ruth Chatterton) is quite literally a woman in a man's world. She inherited her father's booming automobile business after his death, and has run the firm with an iron fist. Male employees who catch her eye are often invited back to her mansion after-hours, and seduced to the ominous strains of "Shanghai Lil", played either on the grammophone or, most bizarrely, by an in-house organist. When any of her lovers tries to get possessive, they are promptly packed off to the Montreal factory.

Beginning to tire of her usual sex games, Alison ventures off one night to see if she can attract a man without her name or money clouding the situation. At a sideshow fair she meets Jim Thorne (George Brent), and the sparks fly naturally for a change. But Alison gets the shock of her life when, the following morning, Jim turns out to be a new employee at the car factory! Desperately in love, Alison reverts back to her old tricks in a bid to hold her man, but she's going to have to swallow her pride - and become the woman she's always kept hidden away...

Coming right at the tail-end of the pre-code era, FEMALE suffered under the wrath of the SRC (a precursor to what became the Production Code in 1934); and the film itself was banned from any possible re-release until the Production Code was dissolved in the 1950's. Married in real life at the time, Ruth Chatterton and George Brent both deliver fabulous performances.
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