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UK: BFI (Access)
Cast: Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell, Mary Boland, Paulette Goddard, Joan Fontaine, Lucile Watson, Phyllis Povah, Virginia Weidler, Ruth Hussey, Margaret Dumont, Marjorie Main, Hedda Hopper
Director: George Cukor
UK: 133 mins
UK Certificate: U contains very mild sex references and violence
UK Release Date: 5 November 2004 (Limited Re-release - London)
New prints of director George Cukor's legendary THE WOMEN, featuring an extraordinary all-female cast of 135, brings to life the 1939 MGM rivalry between the studio's female stars - in particular the on and off-screen spats between Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford.
In 1939 THE WOMEN was promoted as a sophisticated bitch-fest, featuring non-stop dialogue sharp enough to cut yourself on; gossip-propelled high society women; beauty salon rivalry; a Technicolor fashion show complete with cat fight; marriage, divorce, marriage, divorce, and a recovery plan to die for: 'get me a bromide and put some gin in it.'
Not a man in sight, but the ladies that lunch obsess unabated and feed off gossip to devastating effect. Mary Haines (Norma Shearer) is happily married to Stephen, but discovers whilst having her nails painted 'Jungle Red' that he's cheating on her with shop-girl Crystal Allen (Joan Crawford). Initially persuaded by her mother (Lucille Watson) that she should keep quiet to both husband and friends, Mary's pride eventually gets the better of her and she takes the train to Reno to get a divorce. Crystal marries Stephen and keeps her meal-ticket sweet - whilst sweet-talking Buck Haines, cowboy-husband of the Countess DeLave (Mary Boland) from her private-line by the bath tub. Little Mary (Virginia Weidler), daughter of Mary and Stephen, confides in her mother that her father is unhappy and Mary finally gets her revenge.
Based on Claire Boothe's hugely successful Broadway play, THE WOMEN was scripted by Anita Loos (GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES) and Jane Murfin.