The Women is a 1939 film directed by George Cukor and based on the 1936 stage play by Clare Boothe Luce. As its title implies, and contrary to the page quote, it's about women; in fact, there are no men at all in the story. (As a matter of fact, in the movie there are no males of ANY species. The dogs are all bitches and the horses are all mares.)The story concerns a group of women, led by Mary Haines and Sylvia Fowler, whose lives are disrupted when it's discovered that Mr. Stephen Haines is having an affair. The other woman is Crystal Allen, a perfume saleswoman, and certainly not a decent person. As she heads to a Reno Dude Ranch for a quick divorce, Mary meets a few new friends on the way. A few twists come in when one of the new friends is revealed to be the new Mrs. Fowler and the new husband of another starts an affair with Crystal.The film has inspired two remakes. One, titled The Opposite Sex, was released in 1956 and actually featured men; the other, also titled The Women and featuring an all-female castnote With the exception of a scene at the end where one character has a newborn baby boy., came out in 2008.
This film features examples of:
All-Star Cast: The 1939 version features, among others, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell, Joan Fontaine and Norma Shearer. The 1956 film has June Allyson, Anne Miller, Joan Collins, and Leslie Nielsen. The 2008 version features, among others, Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Jada Pinkett Smith, Debra Messing, Eva Mendes (all five of which were "jointly" nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress), Cloris Leachman and Carrie Fisher.
Break the Haughty: The whole point of the film; Mary basically is a wealthy socialite with a darling child who doesn't have a care in the world. But her cousin Sylvia, with a strained marriage of her own and semi-envious of Mary's happiness, decides to destroy Mary's life by revealing her husband's adultery and egging her own to divorce her husband.
Graceful Loser: Crystal of all people concedes when her affair with Buck Winston is revealed, along with the fact that Buck has no money of his own and thereby she's screwed since Stephen is obviously going to divorce her. She calmly expects it's back to the perfume counter for her, but she does get in one snarky comment before she departs.
Hoist by His Own Petard: Crystal brags to Mary that she can keep Steven because she's got Buck Winston, the Countess's latest husband... until she finds out that the company that Buck is the spokesperson for is actually owned by the Countess. She bought it because no one else would hire him, which means he's likely to be fired before or after he leaves the Countess.
Sylvia: A good piece of scandal like that? Not a chance, why that girl never stops talking. You know how those creatures are, babble babble babble babble babble, never let up for a minute, the lot they care whose lives they ruin. It wouldn't be so bad if only Mary's friends knew. We could keep our mouths shut.
Edith: I know I never breathe about my friends' husbands.
Sylvia: But you know how some women are when they lose their heads... they do things they regret all their lives.
(Instructioness grabs Sylvia's leg and forces it into place)
Sylvia: Ouch, my [caesarean] scars!
Pass the Popcorn: Invoked. When the Countess learns that Miriam is seeing Sylvia Fowler's husband, and then Sylvia herself arrives, the Countess makes Miriam stay as they get acquainted just knowing something's about to go down. Lucy has more fun watching the fight but departs to get smelling salts for the loser, but comes back to see Sylvia's breakdown and restrain her.
Spoiled Sweet: An adult version, although Mary could be considered a subversion since she's not a bad person, though she is naive when the movie begins.
Time Skip: Two years pass after Mary fails to prevent Stephen from marrying Crystal.
The Unfair Sex: Averted; the story directs its scorn to Crystal Allen, not the philandering husbands. It does turn out Stephen is miserable being married to Crystal.
Also of note in regards to Miriam Aarons, no one considers her bad for being with Sylvia's husband and she is far more sympathetic compared to Sylvia.
What Could Have Been: According to Diane English on a DVD making of documentary for the 2008 remake, she originally pitched it with both Meg Ryan and Julia Roberts agreeing to be not only in the lead roles, but also as co-producers, and James L Brooks as the director. Blythe Danner and Marisa Tomei would have co-starred, as would have Candice Bergen and Debi Mazar (who remained in the final cut). The project went into Development Hell after Roberts and Ryan declared they both wanted to play the same role at the first table reading. Brooks left to work on As Good As It Gets, and Roberts declared she was no longer interested and also dropped out. Other actresses that expressed interest included Sandra Bullock, Ashley Judd, Uma Thurman, Whitney Houston and Queen Latifah. She also declared she wanted the script to have strong and self-reliant female characters.
There was also a remake planned in the 1970s, and it would have possibly featured men. For some reason it was cancelled.
Wise Beyond Their Years: Little Mary is mature enough to understand that her father is miserable with Crystal without the two even needing to speak about it.