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Saturday, 7 July 2012

The Women (1939)

Director birthday... George Cukor

George Cukor was born on 7 July 1899, and specialised in directing comedies and classic literary adaptations. He was originally meant to direct the classic film, Gone With the Wind, however was fired in the early stages of production. Several of his scenes can be seen in the film. Among his memorable films include The Philadelphia Story (1940) and My Fair Lady (1964). George Cukor died on 24 January 1983 from a heart attack at the age of 83.

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 GoddardMary BolandJoan FontaineMarjorie MainVirginia Weidler (a forgotten actress whom I particularly like), Lucile WatsonRuth 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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