"Female" is a fast paced drama that has a lot of fun with its reversal of the gender roles of the time the movie was made. The irony is that the movie also wraps up much too quickly but it is still entertaining as far as it goes. But, oh, that poor pig!
Additionally, she lives in a Frank Lloyd Wright house with a huge pipe organ inside, and all of her male underlings fear and respect her. She's efficient, competent, and not a bit weak. Except for that whole needing to be seen as a woman thing.
Eventually, of course, she realizes she cannot be female and a businessperson at the same time. So, she eschews the world of business for the love of a good man. Or does she?
First, let's examine how she gets her man.
She talks to her assistant about what men want in women, and he tells her softness and all that stuff. In the next scene, this same assistant invites the man of her dreams (George Brent), who has been spurning her advances, to a company picnic. When he arrives, Ruth Chatterton is the only one there. He's been through her seduction routine and doesn't want any part of it, but she pretends not to know how to start a fire and pretends to be afraid of an owl. We know she's gotten him here by lying, and we know she's keeping him here by lying. Then, this scene happens:
George Brent (1933 Hottie Edition): Since I've met you, you've been 4 different women. The woman at the shooting gallery--she was amusing; the woman at the automobile plant--she was cold and efficient; the woman at your apartment--I didn't like her; and now you, here.
Ruth Chatterton (Strong Resemblance to Bernadette Peters Mixed with Mary Astor Edition): And what do you think of her?
George: I like her.
Ruth: And which do you think is real?
George: This one.
I beg to differ.
So, hijinks and light melodrama ensue, she promises to marry him and give him the run of the company, and the movie ends, but I don't think she's actually going to just hand him the reins. I think she's lying to him again, and I think there's plenty of textual evidence to prove it. But what does this all add up to? That women--especially business-minded ones--are backstabbing, manipulative, and morally bankrupt, of course!
Why 5/5? what can I say? I enjoyed it...a lot!
The character of Ruth Chatterton is fantastic and should be hailed by every feminist as well as every film buff. Regarding the feminist part of the movie: true she breaks at the end but she did manage to head a giant firm for over 5 years which is not bad. Saying it is anti feminist is like saying the Dangerous Liaison is moralistic because of the last 5 minutes.
A great film, go watch it!