Female - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Female Reviews

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September 5, 2014
Female is more than just a museum piece from that short era after the introduction of sound and before the enforcement of the Hays Code; it's a strangely involving, patently absurd, wildly entertaining movie.
Super Reviewer
½ October 5, 2013
Starts out zesty and modern and is quite entertaining until the cop out ending.
½ August 30, 2013
One of my favorite (mostly) forgotten stars of yesteryear, Ruth Chatterton, stars in this pre-code doozy. She's the head of a motorcar company, and sexually harasses her male underlings in a way I hadn't seen since Dabney Coleman in "9 to 5." This being the 30s, though, she gives it all up for one she loves (played by George Brent, Chatterton's real life husband, who eventually left her for Bette Davis).
June 18, 2013
I would have given this movie 5 stars had it not completely abandonned the feminist agenda. :(
½ April 21, 2013
Another great pre-code movie. A fantasy about a woman who runs a motor company, which predates the Dagny Taggert character in the "Atlas Shrugged" novel. Billed as a typical woman-who-must-be-tamed picture, but this really comes across much more audacious than that.
Super Reviewer
½ March 8, 2013
In "Female," Alison Drake(Ruth Chatterton) has her hands full during the day running her father's auto company. But at night she has time to not only get caught up with her old friend Harriet(Lois Wilson) but also to make time with Cooper(Johnny Mack Brown), a new hire. The following day, it is back to business, putting her feet down in opposition to any feelings he might have for her, while she banishes a former lover to Montreal(Oh no! Not that! Anything but that!) before requesting some sensible female additions to the secretarial pool.

"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!
½ October 17, 2012
2.5: This is one of those pre-production code pictures that explores themes largely left untouched, at least blatantly, until the 1960's. The take away message here appears to be that women can be successful in business, but only if they act like men. Additionally, they are better off giving up working and instead devoting themselves to pleasing their husbands and popping out babies. Seriously, that's how it plays out. Funny.
Super Reviewer
May 19, 2012
Ruth Chatterton is a trail blazing feminist with the hots for George Brent. An atypical romance that becomes decidedly typical as it progresses.
July 12, 2011
I'm so out of touch: if I treated a female CEO like crap would she still swoon and give me her company because I'm a REAL MAN? Time to fine out...
½ March 18, 2011
taking into account that this movie was made in 1933 it was very good (except for the last 7 minutes where you know some executive stuck his nose in) a fine example of Hollywood pre-code.
Super Reviewer
October 27, 2010
A woman runs a factory after her father's death, which was highly unusual for the 30s. She treats men the way men treat women, which to her means with little respect and only to get what she wants from them. That part of the movie was interesting, but then she falls in love and the movie ends in a predictable manner.
½ October 10, 2010
I really enjoyed this movie until the end when she gave up to take "her place" in life. Why can't she have both??
August 12, 2010
great pre-code stuff
April 22, 2010
It's 1933, the Depression's on, Prohibition's off, and Ruth Chatterton plays a motor company's CEO who uses men like tissues and wears elbow-length gloves while she negotiates high-stakes business deals.
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!
April 17, 2010
A rather progressive film for it's time, about a ball-busting businesswoman who's a bitch in the boardroom and a beast in the bedroom! (wow, that's quite an alliteration...) That's right, sister, love 'em and leave 'em! Ah, but worry not, folks. Soon enough she meets a handsome Alpha Male who puts her in her place and makes her realize what we knew all along -- the business world is no place for a woman! She dutifully hands over the reins of her company to her new man and declares that she is gonna have nine kids. Atta girl!
February 21, 2010
Funny, witty, charming and with the art deco turned up to 11. Some fabulous dresses and an engineer as the romantic lead. Outrageous in its day a rather quaint rom-com now.
Why 5/5? what can I say? I enjoyed it...a lot!
½ August 29, 2009
It was fabulous until she gave everything up for a man. Bad idea.
July 24, 2009
I was very impressed by this film. It's very well made, a typical no-nonsense directing makes it pleasantly easy to watch and the actors are excellent. But what is really exciting about this film is its subject, it manages to tackle two issues rarely dealt with in films: work and womanhood.
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!
½ June 11, 2009
Enjoyable pre-Hayes code flick, though it ultimately ends with an ironic nod toward put-em-in-there-place male egoism. Ruth Chatterton was wonderful as a sassy, sexy, philandering business woman right up until the ultimately wimpy ending.
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