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Women, The (DVD)
It's all about men! In the eternal battle between the sexes, one side holds an overwhelming advantage: Armed with razor-sharp wit and wielding gossip as a weapon, victory can only go to The Women. Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford and Rosalind Russell enter the skirmish as Mary Haines, Crystal Allen and Sylvia Fowler--whose battlegrounds are the beauty parlor and fashion-show runway. The engagement begins when Mary's husband takes up with shop girl Crystal, and scandalmonger Sylvia gives Mary advice that quickly results in divorce--but that is only the opening salvo in this cracklingly sharp, classic comedy. The star-studded cast consists entirely of women.]]>
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The writing is excellent, the actresses beyond great. It's humorous and makes its point well, too. You can sympathize with Norma Shearer, laugh at Mary Boland, and hate Joan Crawford. The first time I saw it on TCM I didn't expect much, but was very pleasantly surprised!
The plot centers around Mary Haines (Shearer), who discovers her husband has been seeing a sales clerk from a local department store. There are various very entertaining sub-plots as well. You see how the lives of some of the NYC wealthy elite weave together, and how all the women deal with their problems.
Oh- and I bought this at the request of my 15 and 17 year old daughters! They love it, too, and so went to the theater to see the remake. They came home disgusted at what they felt was gratuitous profanity, drug use and near nudity, but more than anything because the new movie first makes Mary culpable for her husband's cheating and then a negligent mother. It's quite out of keeping with the original. I think the lesson is, when you have actresses like those in the 1939 production, writing by Claire Booth Luce, and George Cukor directing...don't mess with it.
This is a keeper, and if it ever wears out I will be buying a new copy.
Joan Crawford when she was an engenue and a rising star, Norma Shearer is absolutely perfect (the Meryl Streep of her day), Rosalind Russel is stellar.
Although Norma Shearer isn't my favorite actress she pulls off her character of the wronged wife excellently. I have to say that I didn't know much about Paulette Goddard until I saw this film and think she would have made a marvelous Scarlett O'Hara but glad she was offered this role, small as it is, as a sort of condolence prize.
Worth the price to buy but at least rent it if you aren't sure you won't be sorry