Tuesday, 17 August 2010

"Most of my friends exit horizontally"

Clare Booth Luce is reported to have heard some gossip-loaded talk at a powderroom in a nightclub and got the inspiration to write a play, which became a Broadway-hit: The Women.

In 1939 it was adapted to screen. George Cukor was director and Anita Loos wrote together with Jane Murfin the screenplay.

In a nutshell:
Mary Haines (Norma Shearer) considers her life as perfect. She is happily married and has a daughter, who she loves a lot. Then - with a little help from her friends, esp. her cousin Sylvia (Rosalind Russell) - she finds out, that her husband Stephen has an affair with Chrystal Allen (Joan Crawford) - a femme fatale selling perfume. Eventually Mary goes to Reno, gets a divorce and new friends.

Two years go by and Chrystal Allen is now good friends with Sylvia and married to Stephen Haines, whom she betrays with a singin' cowboy. Mary figures that out and finally gets her man back.

Watch out for:
Butterfly McQueen (her film debut!), Virginia Grey, Ruth Hussey, Hedda Hopper, Hattie McDaniel and Dorothy Sebastian in bit parts.

Margaret Dumont played a Mrs. Wagstaff (probably the wife of Prof. Quincy Adams Wagstaff of "Horsefeathers" - a Dumont-free Marx Bros. movie?? Wouldn't that be great?!) but her scene were deleted.

In the fightscene Rosalind Russell bites Paulette Goddard (Mrs. Charles Chaplin at that time). Miss Goddard maintained a scar from that bite. Anyway they remained friends.

Allegedly there are (in addition to an all female cast) only female animals in this movie. Even art, books etc. are penned by women.

Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer and Rosalind Russell are rumoured to have a quarrel till George Cukor stepped in.

Joan Fontaine is the only cast member who is still alive.

My favourite feature:

"Sydneys" - the beauty parlour! It is just marvellous! I love the opening scene when these women are chatting and running through that awesome setting. "Sydneys" was named after Sydney Guilaroff - MGMs chief hairstylist.

I'd like to get that perfume flakon for "Summer Rain"!! Or some of the dresses from the Adrian fashion show (the only part in this film in Technicolor.)

This film is one of my alltime favourite - it would be among my top ten. I love the opening credits when all the bigger parts are presented with a picture of an animal and a portrait of the actrice. Although the end scene is way to corny. (Norma Shearer, what's that supposed to mean? Do you never ever went out of a picture that way! That's so Norma Desmond!), this picture contains all I love about comedies: Pretty ladies, opulent settings and decor, marvellous costumes (Rosalind Russells' hats!!) and hairstyles and most important of all: a witty script. I really love these tartly ladies of "The Women" (1939)!
If you don't want to see the whole film watch Rosalind Russell doing her excersises or.. or.. *er*. No, you've got to watch that movie!

There were two remakes: one of 1956 ("The Opposite Sex"), which I will review some day and a 2008 version (also called "The Women") which I avoid to see - so somebody out there has to do that review.
And here the most famous quote out of "The Women" (1939):

"I've had two years to grow claws, mother! Jungle red!"

Good bye! I got to go and watch another movie! So:

"Get me a bromide - and put some gin in it!"


  1. Irene! WOW!! You're a very fast worker, I'm very much surprised. And if you're trying to get the title "bloggin'-queen", it might even work: I see you're extremely creative, very-very talented. You even surpassed yourself (I mean your German book blog).

    - I see even Jean -

    Never saw such a swell blog, Irene and I really mean it. - Of course I'll list you on my sidebar under "Also perfectly swell"! - Dexter must know this too, I'll inform him ...

  2. Aawww.. Clarissa, thank you so much for your nice words! (I'll go and read this comment over and over again, when I am down. Yes, you made my day, lady!!)

    To be honest: I hoped, that you would pass by and wanted to make a good impression. If you know there is a formidable audience out there, you will try to do your very best. :")

    This blog is still under construction. It may take years to get the perfect style..

    - As to Jean: How could I possibly make a film blog without her image? That would be a little bit odd, wouldn't it? ;") I added another one right now. -

    And: I am very, very honoured that you will take this blog to your sidebar and recommend it to Dexter! (wow!)

  3. Irene,

    That was one impressive post about The Women. I loved it and I love your blog. It's terrific. I agree with everything Clarissa said. Yours is one of the best blogs I have come across. Consider me a follower now. I can't wait to see what you post next. And I saw your comment on my blog on Tiffany's or Butterfield. Cool. We both agree on that Butterfield is the one we enjoy more.

  4. Monty,
    thank you sooo much for being my first official follower! - especially as a Butterfield 8 aficionado and someone whose blog I also adore!! :")
    Thank you also for your compliments, we'll see whether I deserve them. ;")

  5. See Irene? It works. I think the world's gonna like you ...

    I thought I had already followed you, but as I see now I forgot. Guess it happened because I left quickly to put you on my sidebar on SWEET&HOT, couldn't wait to see it there.

    I love your blog-title - beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!

    Ah, you had waited for me already, hadn't you? Well, I thought: "Clarissa, lets go over there and see, whether one can see something; maybe there's a title and headline already - who knows, perhaps even a few lines ..." - What a surprise when I saw the whole thing! :D

    It's a good idea to visit other movie blogs. They're happy to meet you and your blog, Irene.


    P.S.: We talked about Irene Dunne. I bought PENNY SERENADE now. It's very lovely, but I'm suffering like hell with Irene and Cary: They're trying to have a baby, but two of their children die over the years. The film is darling though.

  6. Oh, Clarissa!

    I am happy that you like my blog-title!

    You are utterly right: I waited to someone the give me a push and encourage me - thank you so much for that!!

    For that you'll allways be my first (inofficial) follower and you are for sure the intellectual midwife of this blog - Thank you very much indeed!!

    And now all official: Welcome to my blog, Clarissa!

    I'd love to see PENNY SERENADE! I envy you a bit for that - I have to wait till German versions are released on DVD because I want to share the movies with my friends and family.. But I'll wait and then some day.. wahahaa! :")


I really appreciate your comments - I'll read them all and if I can think of an answer I'll post it. :")