“We women are so much more sensible. When we tire of ourselves, we change the way we do our hair or hire a new cook or decorate the house. I suppose a man could do over his office, but he never thinks of anything so simple. No, dear, a man has only one escape from his old self: to see a different self in the mirror of some woman’s eyes.”
After getting taken off what ended up being the biggest film of all time – ”Gone With the Wind” – George Cukor was given the adaptation of Claire Boothe’s very popular Broadway play, “The Women,” to direct. For someone called a ‘woman’s director,’ this was a good choice for both movies. That being said, it doesn’t mean Cukor’s film holds up well today. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we head back to our series on the year 1939 to really explore what made it the ‘best year of movies,’ and we kick it off with Cukor’s “The Women.” We talk about the screenplay for this film and why it doesn’t hold up today, while also wondering what made it hold up back then. We ponder the schizophrenic messages this movie espouses, trying to figure out if it’s meant to be an early feminist film or if it’s eschewing everything feminism is about. We talk about the cast, notably Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell, Paulette Goddard, Joan Fontaine and Virginia Weidler, and how they hold up with both the snappy dialogue and the painfully awkward story elements. We discuss Adrian and the meaning of a 10-minute technicolor fashion show in the middle of a film, trying to decide if there really is any meaning in it or if it’s just awkwardly lumped in there. And we learn all about the existence of divorce ranches in Nevada during this period in time and why it had to figure so prominently in the story. It’s a film that really didn’t work at all for either of us, but because of that, gives us a lot of fodder for conversation. Check out the film (or skip it and save yourself the time), then tune in!