Monday, March 20, 2006

Day 61: "The Women"

Director: George Cukor 1939
The famous movie based on the famous play by Clare Boothe Luce. I suppose today it can be viewed as a camp classic, what with all the bitchiness and cat-fighting--not to mention a fashion show segment, during which the black-and-white film turns to color, that has to be seen to be believed. There is not a man in sight, yet the film is all about how these divorced women want their rich, cheating mates back--or a new mate if the old one is uncooperatrive. There are some good performances, notably the wonderful and sexy Paulette Goddard, and it's fun to see MGM's female stars--Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell and others--strut their nasty stuff, often while wearing the oddest hats to be seen since the futuristic vision of 1936's "Things to Come." But Cukor's direction is off in places (perhaps because Clark Gable has just had him fired from "Gone With the Wind"), and there are some truly cringe-provoking moments (Shearer's daughter talking to herself about her parents' impending divorce, and Shearers's final climb up a long staircase where her ex-hubby awaits). If there's some early feminist subtext in all this nonsense, it escapes me.


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