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The Women Details

FULL SYNOPSIS

Based on the Clare Booth Luce play of the same name, this MGM comedy is famous for its all-female cast and deft direction by George Cukor. The plot centers on a group of gossipy high-society women who spend their days at the beauty salon and haunting fashion shows. The sweet, happily wedded Mary Haines (Norma Shearer) finds her marriage in trouble when shopgirl Crystal Allen (Joan Crawford) gets her hooks into Mary's man. Naturally, this situation becomes the hot talk amongst Mary's catty friends, especially the scandalmonger Sylvia Fowler (Rosalind Russell), who has little room to talk -- she finds herself on a train to Reno and headed for divorce right after Mary. But with a bit of guts and daring, Mary snatches her man right back from Crystal's clutches. Snappy, witty dialogue, much of it courtesy of veteran screenwriter Anita Loos, helps send this film's humor over the top. So do the characterizations -- Crawford is as venomous as they come, and this was Russell's first chance to show what she could do as a comedienne. And don't discount Shearer -- her portrayal of good-girl Mary is never overpowered by these two far-flashier roles. The only part of Shearer that misses is the fashion-show sequence. It was shot in color -- an innovative idea in its day -- but now both the concept and clothes are dreary and archaic. Do keep an eye on the supporting players, though, especially Mary Boland as the Countess DeLage. The role was based on a cafe society dame of that era, the Countess DiFrasso, who had a wild affair with Gary Cooper; that romance is satirized here. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

  • Release date:September 1, 1939

Cast

Norma Shearer
as Mary Haines
Joan Crawford
as Crystal Allen
Rosalind Russell
as Sylvia Fowler
Mary Boland
as Countess DeLage
Joan Fontaine
as Peggy Day
Phyllis Povah
as Edith Potter
Paulette Goddard
as Miriam Aarons
Virginia Weidler
as Little Mary
Lucile Watson
as Mrs. Moorhead, Mary's Mother
Florence Nash
as Nancy Blake
Esther Dale
as Ingrid, Country House Cook
Ann Morriss
as Exercise Instructor
Ruth Hussey
as Miss Watts, Stephen's Secretary
Mary Beth Hughes
as Miss Trimmerback
Virginia Grey
as Pat, Perfume Counter Clerk
Marjorie Main
as Lucy, Dude Ranch Owner
Cora Witherspoon
as Mrs. Van Adams
Hedda Hopper
as Dolly Dupuyster
Betty Blythe
Florence O'Brien
as Euphie
Dorothy Adams
as Miss Atkinson
Mariska Aldrich
as Singing Teacher
Judith Allen
as Model
Gertrude Astor
as Nurse
May Beatty
as Fat Woman
Marie Blake
as Stock Room Girl
May Boley
Veda Buckland
as Woman
Nell Craig
as Nurse
Margaret Dumont
as Mrs. Wagstaff
Estelle Etterre
as Hairdresser
Dot Farley
as Large Woman
Flora Finch
as Woman Window Tapper
Grace Goodall
as Head Saleswoman
Rita Gould
as Dietician
Theresa Harris
as Olive
Winifred Harris
as Mrs. North
Grace Hayle
as Cyclist
Virginia Howell
as Receptionist
Carolyn Hughes
as Salesgirl at Modiste Salon
Priscilla Lawson
as Hairdresser
Butterfly McQueen
as Lulu, Cosmetics Counter Maid
Natalie Moorhead
as Woman in Modiste Salon
Hilda Plowright
as Miss Fordyce
Aileen Pringle
as Miss Carter, Saleslady
Dorothy Sebastian
as Saleswoman
Josephine Whittell
as Mrs. Spencer
Charlotte Wynters
as Miss Batchelor
Dennie Moore
as Olga, Manicurist
Lillian Bond
as Mrs. Erskine
Dora Clement
as Woman Under Sunlamp
Mariska Aldrich
as Singing Teacher
Flora Finch
as Woman Window Tapper
Florence O'Brien
as Euphie
Aileen Pringle
as Miss Carter, Saleslady
Dorothy Adams
as Miss Atkinson
Theresa Harris
as Olive
Josephine Whittell
as Mrs. Spencer
Natalie Moorhead
as Woman in Modiste Salon
Priscilla Lawson
as Hairdresser
Dot Farley
as Large Woman
Carolyn Hughes
as Salesgirl at Modiste Salon
Gertrude Astor
as Nurse
Rita Gould
as Dietician
Butterfly McQueen
as Lulu, Cosmetics Counter Maid
Dennie Moore
as Olga, Manicurist
Grace Hayle
as Cyclist
Veda Buckland
as Woman
Lillian Bond
as Mrs. Erskine
Nell Craig
as Nurse
May Beatty
as Fat Woman
Dorothy Sebastian
as Saleswoman
Hilda Plowright
as Miss Fordyce
Charlotte Wynters
as Miss Batchelor
Judith Allen
as Model
Grace Goodall
as Head Saleswoman
Virginia Howell
as Receptionist
Margaret Dumont
as Mrs. Wagstaff
Estelle Etterre
as Hairdresser
Marie Blake
as Stock Room Girl
Winifred Harris
as Mrs. North

Crew

George Cukor
Director
Hunt Stromberg
Producer
Clare Boothe
Play Author
Jane Murfin
Screenwriter
Anita Loos
Screenwriter
Oliver Marsh
Cinematographer
Joseph Ruttenberg
Cinematographer
Edward Ward
Composer (Music Score)
Edward Ward
Songwriter
George Forrest
Songwriter
Cedric Gibbons
Art Director
Edwin B. Willis
Set Designer
Adrian
Costume Designer
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