Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Women

The Women is one of my favorite movies.  It's dizzyingly fast and witty and perfectly acted.  It's one of the few movies that I watch over and over, and I love it more each time.

It was written by powerhouses Clare Boothe Luce and Anita Loos, with some uncredited contributions by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  This may explain the particularly exceptional quality of the script.

In addition to being almost perfectly written (when it is sentimental, it rots your teeth and face off, and the man everyone is in an uproar about is an unlikeable fool), it is as I said perfectly acted.  Rosalind Russell is pure gold and the delight of my life.  She's somehow hilarious, elegant, scathing and ridiculous at the same time.  You may also know her as Auntie Mame.

The movie mostly revolves around the drama between Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford, as one is the wife and the other the mistress of the undesirable man, but includes lots of side action on behalf of Norma's shitty friends.  After all relationships collapse, the women travel to a ranch in Reno for their divorces, and hijinks ensue.  Although Norma's character predictably goes fleeing back to the man after a humbling revelation, she does at least take an initial stand, raging that inequity and lack of trust in relationships is unacceptable and that she will not settle...Until she realizes that being a sad divorcee totally blows for a socialite in 1939 Manhattan.  Well, whatever.

Another small player in the movie is Virginia Grey, whose only scene is one of my favorites.  Joan is on the phone with Norma's husband, cooing and baby-talking at him in the most disgusting of ways as she deceives him into thinking she's a sweet and modest girl just trying to make her way, instead of the vampire bat that she actually is.  Virginia Grey's character is her perfume counter co-worker, who makes about 47 wickedly funny little remarks about the conversation in the space of 3 minutes.  She's also adorably beautiful and seems like she should have had a bigger role.

I like this movie, the end.

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