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Women, The (MGM 1939, Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer)

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In a social satire as sharp as a cat’s claw, George Cukor pulls back the curtains of drawing rooms and ladies’ lounges to expose the machinations that go into the war between women over men. Norma Shearer has what she thinks is a happy marriage until meddlesome Rosalind Russell connives to have her learn the truth about her husband’s affair with store clerk Joan Crawford.

After a trip to Reno for a quickie divorce, she learns that her husband isn’t pleased with Crawford. So Shearer paints her nails jungle red and enlists her friends to snare her husband from Crawford’s clutches. Snappy, spiteful dialogue from Loos, based on the play by Luce, delivered by MGM’s best actresses.

With a cast of more than 135 women in The Women, it took director George Cukor three actors and several screen tests to find the one perfect man–who would appear in the film as a shadow.

production details
USA | MGM | 133 minutes | 1939

Director: George Cukor
Producer: Hunt Stromberg
Original Story: Clare Booth Luce
Cinematography: Oliver T. Marsh, Joseph Ruttenberg
Editor: Robert Kern
Music: David Snell, Edward Ward
Script: Anita Loos, Jane Murfin
Production Design: Cedric Gibbons, Wade B. Rubottom

cast
Charlotte Wynters as Miss Batchelor
Barbara Pepper as Tough Girl
Lilian Bond as Mrs. Erskine (uncredited)
Grace Hayle as Cyclist
Mary Anderson as Young Girl (uncredited)
Joan Fontaine as Mrs. John Day (Peggy)
Lucile Watson as Mrs. Morehead
Mildred Coles as Debutante
Marie Blake as Stockroom Girl
Natalie Moorhead as Woman at Modiste Salon
Marjorie Main as Lucy
Maude Allen as Cyclist
Lenita Lane as Mrs. Spencer’s Friend
Grace Goodall as Head Saleswoman
Mary Beth Hughes as Miss Trimmerback
Joan Crawford as Crystal Allen
Dorothy Adams as Miss Atkinson
Janet McLeay as Girl in Shadowgraph / Glamour Girl
Norma Shearer as Mrs. Stephen Haines (Mary)
Rosalind Russell as Mrs. Howard Fowler (Sylvia)
Mary Boland as The Countess De Lave
Paulette Goddard as Miriam Aarons
Phyllis Povah as Mrs. Phelps Potter (Edith)
Virginia Weidler as Little Mary
Virginia Grey as Pat
Ruth Hussey as Miss Watts
Muriel Hutchison as Jane
Hedda Hopper as Dolly Dupuyster
Florence Nash as Nancy Blake
Cora Witherspoon as Mrs. Van Adams
Ann Morriss as Exercise Instructress
Dennie Moore as Olga
Mary Cecil as Maggie
Betty Blythe as Mrs. South (uncredited)
Lita Chevret as Woman Under Sunlamp (uncredited)
Butterfly McQueen as Lulu (uncredited)
Dorothy Sebastian as Saleswoman Pat (uncredited)
Ruth Alder as Woman Under Sunlamp
Mariska Aldrich as Singing Teacher
Meeka Aldrich as Masseuse
Barbara Jo Allen as Receptionist
Judith Allen as Corset Model
Effie Anderson as Nurse
Dorothy Appleby as Treatment Girl
Gertrude Astor as Mud Bath Nurse
Bunny Beatty as Debutante in Powder Room
May Beatty as Fat Woman / Society Woman
Wilda Bennett as Mrs. Carter
Joan Blair as Miss Atkins
Gladys Blake as Miss St. Claire
May Boley as Mud Mask
Frederika Brown as Head Saleswoman
Veda Buckland as Woman
Aileen Carlyle as Miss Hicks
Shirley Chambers as Girl in a Bath
Dora Clement as Woman Under Sunlamp
Mabel Colcord as Woman Getting Massage
Beatrice Cole as Negligee Model
Nell Craig as Nurse
Esther Dale as Ingrid
Mary Dees as Girl
Eva Dennison as Old Girl
Estelle Etterre as Hairdresser #2
Dot Farley as Large Woman
Nance Lee Ferrar as Edith Potter’s Daughter
Flora Finch as Woman Window Tapper
Ruth Findlay as Pedicurist
Agnes Fraser as Debutante
June Gittelson as Mrs. Goldstein
Rita Gould as Dietician
Grayce Hampton as Dowager in Powder Room
Sibyl Harris as Fashion Show Commentator
Theresa Harris as Olive
Winifred Harris as Mrs. North / Society Woman
Brenda Henderson as Mrs. Jones’ Daughter
Jany Hope as Edith Potter’s Daughter
Joey Hope as Edith Potter’s Daughter
Virginia Howell as Receptionist
Carol Hughes as Salesgirl at Modiste Salon
Jane Isbell as Edith Potter’s Daughter
Suzanne Kaaren as Princess Mara
Alice Keating as Saleswoman
Carole Lee Kilbry as Theatrical Child
Carole Lee Kirby as Theatrical Child
Lucia LaCerte as Treatment Girl
Priscilla Lawson as Hairdresser #1
Leni Lynn as Edith’s Oldest Daughter
Leila McIntyre as Woman with Bundles
Greta Meyer as Masseuse
Helene Millard as Cosmetic Saleswoman
Sue Moore as Masseuse
Gertrude Needham as Woman
Hattie Noel as Maid on Train
Florence O’Brien as Euphie
Mimi Olivera as Manicurist
Blanche Payson as Masseuse
Edith Penn as Nurse
Virginia Pine as Glamour Girl
Hilda Plowright as Miss Fordyce
Aileen Pringle as Miss Carter – Saleslady
Catherine Proctor as Woman in Cabinet
Isabel Randolph as Woman in Cabinet
Renie Riano as Ugly Saleswoman
Ruth Rickaby as Nurse
Jo Ann Sayers as Debutante
Peggy Shannon as Mrs. Jones
Mildred Shay as Helen – Crystal’s French Maid
Clarice Sherry as Girl
Florence Shirley as Miss Archer
Irene Shirley as Nurse
Amzie Strickland as Glamour Girl
Ann Teeman as Makeup Artist
Terry as Fighting Dog at Beauty Shop
Charlotte Treadway as Companion Woman
Beryl Wallace as Woman in Cabinet
Josephine Whittell as Mrs. Spencer
Marjorie Wood as Sadie – Old Maid in Powder Room
Mary Young as Grandma