Cary and Irene (THE AWFUL TRUTH)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

THE WOMEN (1939) is my favorite film from that golden year

George Cukor is best know as a director of women's films. His deft hand guided many classic films centered on women. Such as Camille, Little Women, The Philadelphia Story, Susan and God, Holiday, Gaslight, parts of Gone With The Wind and of course the 1939 all star classic film The Women. That film had a dream cast of nothing but women as not one single man ever appeared in any parts of this wild and rollicking comedy. But it's ironic because men are all what these ladies talk and fight about. The cast features Norma Shearer as Mary Haines, a loving wife whose husband strays into an affair with the sexy, gold digging Crystal Allen (Joan Crawford in a top notch performance and my favorite character in the film). Mary's friend, Sylvia Fowler (hilariously played by Rosalind Russell) tries to help Mary through this crisis but ends up being the one who likes to stir things up. We all have friends like that don't we?
Sylvia and Edith meeting Crystal...

One loyal friend of Mary is Peggy (a quiet but still good performance by Joan Fontaine). After Mary runs into Crystal and has an argument with her husband, who is kept off camera, and the argument is wonderfully told to the audience by the maid to the cook in the kitchen, Mary heads to Reno for a divorce. There she runs into several more women including Paulette Goddard as Miriam (looking sensational and full of fire) and is seeing Sylvia's husband on the side. We also meet the delightfully eccentric The Countess De Lave (played by Mary Boland) who loves men like most people love candy. She just can't get enough of them.

Once in Reno, the women settle down until Sylvia shows up and says she is getting a divorce too and finds Miriam is the other woman. Which leads to a hilarious catfight with hats, shirts, and skirts soon being ripped to pieces. The Women is an amazing film with Cukor guiding all these talented actresses perfectly and creating a masterpiece. Norma Shearer who started in films in the mid-20's and made several pre-code Hollywood melodramas where she was often cast as the sexy and independent woman is more motherly in this film. And her final screen exit is a little too over melodramatic but for the most part she is good as Mary. Rosalind Russell is a hoot as Sylvia and gets in some choice bits. But it's Joan Crawford who stands out the most as Crystal. Not only is she smart, funny, sexy and gets to deliver most of the film's most memorable lines, she is also drop dead beautiful here. Her classic line at the end of the film is one for the books..."There's a word for you ladies, but it's not used in society..outside of a kennel." Damn. Of course things work out eventually by the end of the movie, but the fun part is getting there to see it.
A meeting of enemies...

Winner of 4 Monties including Best Film, Director, and Supporting Actress (a tie between Roz and Joan).

Monday, October 17, 2011

Happy Birthday Jean Arthur (1900 - 1991)

Happy Birthday to one of the great screwball film actresses of all time, Jean Arthur. The list of her great comedies include Easy Living, You Can't Take It With You, The More The Merrier, The Devil and Miss Jones and lots more. Non screwball films include Shane, and Mr. Smith Goes To Washington. Happy Birthday Jean!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Classic Screwball Couples

Just some photos of some classic couples in screwball comedies. Enjoy.

Kate and Cary

Jimmy and Jean

William and Myrna..and Skippy

Clark and Claudette

Carole and Robert

Cary and Rosalind

Gary and Jean

Barbara and Henry

Carole and William

and of course my favorite pair..Cary and Irene

Monday, October 3, 2011

EASY LIVING tops the favorite Jean Arthur screwball film poll

EASY LIVING won the favorite Jean Arthur screwball comedy film with 7 of the 19 tallied votes. I chose Easy Living myself because I thought it was Jean's best screwball film. The More The Merrier finished second with 4 votes. A pair of Frank Capra films: You Can't Take It With You and Mr. Deeds Goes To Town both finished with 3 votes. The Devil and Miss Jones took 2 votes and The Ex-Mrs. Bradford yielded no votes. Thanks to everyone that stopped by to vote.