His Dark Materials
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Shrieking harpies! Gaggling geese! Cawing crows! I was shocked at how irritating and almost unwatchable this film is; taken from a play that obviously has not stood the test of time (it's completely forgotten and never produced). The style it's directed in by George Cukor--fast talking, immediate cue pick-ups, animated mugging--is not clever or winsome--merely irritating in this treatment. Norma Shearer comes off well, as does the girl who plays her daughter, and Joan Crawford is charismatic and interesting, but the whole affair does not work; to be fair, maybe it once --sort of-- did in it's day-- maybe it was thought brave and shocking to show an all female cast of "socialites" being loud, aggressive, vulgar, and ugly. Now it just seems weird. It also has the unfortunate generic title of "The Women" (and, btw, doesn't hold a candle as a movie to "The Men" from the early 50's); if this film were truly reflective of most Women, the earth's population would quickly fall off to zilch. The film is also overly long by about 30 minutes. . . . Alright . . . the above was written with ten minutes left in my viewing; I will say the end was slightly winsome and made me give it a single additional star. Still, obnoxious overall and hard viewing. Buyer beware.
Great script and great performances anchor this brilliant classic comedy.
Absolutely accurate! Love this movie so much I bought the dvd on Amazon.
This is not the way typical Inormal) women behaved in 1939 or today. Long stretches of pure boredom should be edited out, as should the color sequence of a "fashion show". The color could have been used better in almost any other scene. As such, it drags the action of the film down to a crawl. The women are terribly misogynistic and have a dislike for the female sex and for women in general. The moral is to swallow your pride and go back to your husband -- no matter what he's done. That's the only way you can be happy. Maybe that was so in 1939. But this is a far cry from being a feminist masterpiece.
SPOILER ALERT!! One of my favorites. The final few seconds when she leaves the ladies' room and runs to meet her ex and the expression she had when she saw him was the only bad part of the movie....way too melodramatic for me. It still doesn't keep me from giving it a five star rating.
The Women is an excellent film. It is about the lives and romantic entanglements of various interconnected women. Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford give amazing performances. The screenplay is well written. George Cukor did a great job directing this movie. I enjoyed watching this motion picture because of the humor and drama. The Women is a must see.
A lot of crackle and fizz and some great home truths are uttered here. But also a lot of bloody talking which was hard to keep pace with. By then end it i peters out a bit.
Just watched this movie for the umpteenth time...cannot agree to any of it's humor or storyline. It is IMO just stupid...Rosalind Russell's character is awful ..over acted and ridiculous. It is all so overblown and absurd!!! IMO it is beneath Joan Crawford for doing it. Norma Shearer looked awful in it... it just got on my last nerve.
A fun one, for sure. About divorce, when it was still a new phenomenon, but also about infidelity and forgiveness. Lots of good one-liners, but the dialogue is delivered in that way-too-fast style popular back then. No real "acting" to speak of, just people reading a script, but a pretty great script here. The protagonist and her young daughter have great on-screen chemistry. Of course, the best thing is that there are absolutely no men in this movie. Of course, the only substantive thing the women talk about are the men, but in all 2+ hours of film, it's all women. Quite an achievement and a great premise for the 1930's!
The concept and execution is very much of its time. (Other timely examples of comedy of manners include The Philadelphia Story and Trouble in Paradise.) The film featured all of MGM's biggest female stars: Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Paulette Goddard, Rosalind Russell, and Joan Fontaine. The story focuses on Mary Haines (Shearer) a wealthy wife and mother who discovers that her husband is cheating on her with a perfume girl (Crawford). Mary then decides to divorce him, goes to Reno to get said divorce (since this is 1939), and the rest of the film features partner switching, infidelity, scandal, and intrigue as other female characters face the same issues as Mary and her daughter.
Though the casting gimmick makes for an interesting watch, and the film does focus on basic issues that women have, it's not revolutionary. The women all depend on men. Their issues all stem from men. Their livelihoods, interests, careers, and aspirations are constantly linked to the men around them, even though they are completely unseen. Even when the women are alone, men are their only obligation. Perhaps Clara Boothe Luce and screenwriter Anita Loos were trying to slipin some commentary about the lack of agency in women's lives. A more likely explanation is that executives thought a film solely about women wouldn't interest anyone unless it was solely about finding and keeping men.
The one scene that is supposedly solely intended just for women viewers is a fashion show, which is the only color section of the entire film. Director George Cukor hated it so much that he tried to have it cut from the film. It definitely feels forced and kind of patronizing, since the entire sequence is a lengthy 10 minutes, and it does nothing for the plot. It's as if the film doesn't trust women to be entertained by wit and humor, and decided we needed a palette cleanser, which is obviously ridiculous.
What the original has over all subsequent remakes is a sense of poise and sophistication. Norma Shearer wins because she is a woman of substance, who cannot be replaced by the sultry Joan Crawford. Shearer was clean and concise, and she was known as an actress for her historical roles up until the advent of Turner Classic Movies. Any remake is going to be subpar, because this is a film very much of its time, and we no longer possess the same views on sexuality, marriage, equality, or feminism that we did in the Depression era 1930s. Of course, this didn't stop the 2008 remake from happening.