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Thursday, 7 June 2012

The Women (1939)

Star Birthday - Paulette Goddard



Paulette Goddard was born on 3 June 1910, and first found fame on Broadway as a Ziegfeld Girl, before moving to the movies. Goddard died on 23 April 1990.

Recommended Viewing





The Women (1939)

Be careful what you say in private - it could become a movie.


That's exactly what happened when Clare Booth Luce heard some interesting gossip in a public toilet. It inspired her to write the play on which this film is based.


"The Women" is an entertaining husband snatching catty tale, which starts with a bitch fight (literally), as two female pet dogs violently snap at each other. Shortly after this, as Sylvia Fowler (played by Rosalind Russell) is having her nails done, the manicurist let's slip her cousin Mary Haines' (played by Norma Shearer) husband is having an affair with perfume salesgirl Crystal Allen (played by Joan Crawford). Knowing this juicy bit of gossip Sylvia takes it upon herself to spread this to everyone she knows.


The cast features 139 women and not a man in sight. Even the pet animals in the film were female. The film's supporting cast features Paulette Goddard, Mary Boland, Joan Fontaine, Marjorie Main, Virginia Weidler (a forgotten actress whom I particularly like), Lucile Watson, Ruth HusseyVirginia Grey and Butterfly McQueen.


The film includes a 10 minute fashion show sequence filmed in Technicolor. Although dazzling and visually stunning, the sequence is pointless and adds unnecessary time to an already long film.


The film has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."


 The film was later remade as a musical in 1956, 'The Opposite Sex', starring June Allyson, Joan Collins and Ann Miller.

Did you know...

  • No stunt doubles were used when Rosalind Russell bit Paulette Goddard's leg, leaving a permanant scar
  • Lesbianism is subtlely portrayed in the character of Nancy Blake
  • As of June 2012, Joan Fontaine is the only surviving credited cast member
  • This film was Butterfly McQueen's film debut

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