“It’s all about men!” ran the original poster tagline for this deliciously overwrought ensemble melodrama. Norma Shearer, Joan Fontaine, and Rosalind Russell lead a gaggle of New York society women who spend their days in gossip, petty rivalries, divorce ranch showdowns, and copious chatter about, well, men—despite the fact that, in a daring move, there’s not a single man so much as glimpsed among the film’s 135 characters. (Per Cukor’s orders, even the onscreen dogs and horses were female.) This was the role that established Russell’s status as a great comic actress, but the greatest pleasure of the acting is cumulative: watching the rest of the cast bounce off and bristle against Shearer’s wronged housewife. With its scenery-chewing performances and stinging, rapid-fire putdowns, The Women is an acid delight.

  • Directed By George Cukor
  • 1939
  • USA
  • 35mm
  • 133 minutes