Monday, August 8, 2011

THE WOMEN (1939)

Director George Cukor had a hell of a year in 1939. First, after spending two years in pre-production on GONE WITH THE WIND, he parting ways due to disagreements with David O. Selznick. During this time he also worked on THE WIZARD OF OZ where he altered the look of Dorothy, the Scarecrow and the Wicked Witch. And if that's not enough, after being dismissed from GWTW he directed THE WOMEN, which I'm confused as to why it wasn't even nominated for any Academy Awards. Could it have been because Cukor was pretty open about his homosexuality? How the fuck should I know! But I do know that Rosalind Russell was robbed...of a nomination, not the win. Olivia de Havilland was the one robbed of the win in 1939.

Anyway, THE WOMEN is a mile-a-minute drama/comedy about a bunch of cackling bitches who get no greater joy in life than making their friend's lives miserable. The target of their cruelty for this movie is the kind-hearted Norma Shearer who is madly in love with her husband, so naturally when the pack hear a rumor that Shearer's husband is messing around with a shopgirl they get all worked up into a frenzy and will stop at nothing to break up Norma's marriage. Nothing is too brutal for these women to say, they even bring Norma's daughter into their verbal attacks!

One of the things that I always found strange about THE WOMEN is the 10 minute fashion show right in the middle of the movie! It doesn't benefit the story in any way and more than anything it brings the story to a screeching stop right before an emotional scene. From what I've read Cukor didn't like the scene either, but it got left in anyway. My advise: when it starts just skip the chapter and forget that it ever existed. Other than that, I like this movie quite a bit, especially
Rosalind Russell who is hilarious as the lead bitch. Her "I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!" scene was great.

Being over 70 years old this film is dated and over melodramatic, but if you can get over that you'll find a very enjoyable movie with a lot of witty dialogue. Fans of classic Hollywood should definitely check it out.