Greetings fellow Frilly Filmies! Today we take on a major cinematic classic- the 1939 classic- George Cukor’s The Women. Get your popcorn, prepare the bathtub and pour out a cupful of Mr Bubbles in honor of this major event. I’m a huge fan of this movie and I think it influenced my opinion on female friendships, divorce, dude ranches and snark- not all of them in a positive way! The play was adapted to meet Code by Anita Loos- of Gentlemen prefer Blondes fame. Oh, I’m excited about this!!!! Ready? We go!
This is Mary Haines. She is a mother, socialite and all around saint. She has perfect hair, Shoulder pads, and husband. She is in for a seriously bad week.
This is Sylvia- her bestie and total gossip-beast. Her husband is a lawyer and she’s having an affair while he has one too. So life is perfect.
She knows the secret to a happy life is a well-maintained figure and a clueless husband. This is their friend Peggy- she’s young and new to the marriage game. She should avoid Sylvia. In 1939 this is all you had to do to fit into bias cut dresses- because MacDonalds won’t open for another 20 years.
Sylvia has major gossip from the salon. Her nail tech told her the most interesting things about the perfect Mrs Steven Haines- he’s stepping out on Mary like a dog!!
Now what is a good friend to do? what if it’s not true? They should go all Perry Mason and investigate the Case of the Spread-legged Strumpet! What do we know? She’s a shop girl and she’s been peddling her wares looking for a wealthy moron. Steven is perfect! Off they go to Gimbels to scope her out- being all cas as only Sylvia can do!
Exhibit A: Crystal Allen- the accessory from the accessories department- she is meant for finer things and doesn’t mind taking them out of someone elses home to get them. She’s going to hook Steven and that’s all there is to it! she makes plans to get him to sleepover while Mary and the kid are at a ‘Wealthy Mothers against gluten filled snacks’ fundraiser.
Sylvia knows that Mary will be crushed- but Mary is the trusting sort and knows that her marriage is built on a higher plain and that no one could come between the rich, meaningful love her husband and she share. Oh Mary- you’re making me sad. If Drew Barrymoore and Tom Green couldn’t last- what hope do you have?
Sylvia cannot believe this farce and under the guise of friendly advice, sets Mary up with her own nail tech. Things go poorly. For all of you out there saying they hate when manicurists don’t speak english in front of them- think of Mary.
Mary is very upset. What about their wonderful life together? What about their plans for a Labradoodle Rehab center in the Berkshires??? Oh, this is disillusioning on so many levels. Also, the bitch was hard on Mary’s cuticles and they’re a little tender now.
Well, when the going gets tough, the well-coiffed get going….on a cruise with their mother. Leaving little Mary home with the dog. She’ll tell Mary right after she changes into another Mr Furley jumpsuit- since it has been 3 hours since she changed last.
Little Mary decides to go live with her Sister and her husband C K Dexterhaven Mary takes it like a big girl. Well, Bermuda was lovely, Mary comes back refreshed and eager to renew her faith in Steven, her home and her idyllic marriage.
She’s going to need new clothes- lots of them! Off she goes to the salon where conveniently everyone is scoping out the new shoulder pads too. Mary is apparently the band leader today.
Time for a major and unexplainable technicolor fashion show! Now. The backstory that I have always heard was that Norma Shearer- married to a big studio guy heard rumor that a certain munchkin-filled money pit on another set was getting a ‘color sequence’ and she had to have one too! I don’t know if thats 100% accurate but I like to think it was. Here’s some serious Adrian (also of the munchkin film) couture.
Mary, things are not all rosie. Crystal is still clinging to your husband. In fact- she may even be here at the ritzy salon where she is also spending Stevens money!
Sylvie is bursting to tell Mary that the cat is among the canaries! Like friends who care about you do of course- in a nurturing and solicitous manner.
Well, Mary is no shrinking society violet- she will go and confront the skank in a most dignified way- telling Crystal that Steven wouldn’t like such ‘obvious’ clothing choices. Crystal fires back that ‘when Steven doesn’t like what she wears- she takes it off!’
Oh, 1939 burn that we still don’t have enough aloe for!
Ok, that tears it! If Mary learned anything at Miss Porters it was when to make an exit. She tells her mother she is out of here! Ma is a bit old school- like one room old school. She tells Mary to just ignore it. She has the house, the Hummels, the kid, the name. Let him have his skanky fun- like your father did. You’ll outlive him and buy big hats.
Mary says screw that- I’m going to RENO. In 1939 Mary couldn’t get a quick Manhattan divorce- so society ladies take the luxury train to Nevada, spa it and establish residency. sport some faux western wear, make new friends, and boom- you get your divorce. Hijinks ensue. Mary meets The Countess De Lave (seriously) and Miriam -I assume to divorce the husband she’s leaving for Sylvia’s husband- phew! That’s a lot of lawyers!
Sad Peggy from the lady gym has had another fight about burnt toast with her husband and is on the train too. But she has a secret. She doesn’t want a divorce- she just got worked up.
The divorce dude Ranch is run by the fabulous Marjorie Main- and no one can give sage advice like her! If they weren’t paying her so much- she’s send all these cats packing! She is assisted by a yodeling ranch hand- Buck. He’s all buff no brain. But provides moonlight canoeing/canoodling for the bored pre-divorcees.
They were pretty bored until Sylvia arrived- her lawyer husband is dumping her and oh, surprise- she’s sharing a cabin with his future bunkmate!
An Uneasy truce follows- since they are stuck there! The soon to be x’es keep them up to date on all the Manhattan gossip.
Mary starts to regret her hasty exit and is ready to get back on the train and return to Manhattan with Preggers Peggy and reconnect with Steven- when he calls and tells her he’s married Crystal! Seriously? Really Steven. I’ve never seen you but I just know you look weaselly.
FAST FORWARD- 2 YEARS!
Everyone is back in Manhattan, the Duchess has brought back a souvenir in the form of Buck- who she is planning to turn into the next big Luke Holmes (thats a singer my coworker says is hot- I abstain from Country and or western) since one of her x-husbands lost a lot of radio stations to her.
Our Mary is sharing custody of little Mary who is helping her adjust to being alone and being kind of a joke to her catty friends.
How is Crystal adjusting you ask? Steven is boring, and once she finished putting in an olympic regulation sized spa tub and extra private phone line in, she is bored too.
Seriously, on those House Hunters shows the women go gaa-gaa over the giant spa tub- Crystal must be the patron saint of all things tiling. Crystal is of course a nurturing soul and totally cherishes her time with little Mary, so everything is really great for this new urban family.
But, everyone is starting to notice that Crystal is ignoring Steven and soaking something off her’. Even her new best friend Sylvia- who is in a strange Genie phase between marriages is suspicious. I think that hat comes with a tiny pingpong ball to catch in it.
Oh Crystal what are you up to? Hmmm……
This can’t end well! Poor Duchess de Lava Soap! A 6th bad marriage? Gah- it’s like she barely thinks about these things! I’m sure no one has noticed this situation. Except everyone in their circle! Mary is even getting wise to it. Little Mary thinks her father is sad and regretful and drowning under Crystals bath bomb expenditures.
When the Duchess finds out she will yank Bucks yodeller out too!
Who’s going to tell Steven the sad news? Look kids, its real life Hollywood columnist- Hedda Hopper! In an outfit I believe she stole from Emerald Citys career collection.
Hedda drops the bomb that Crystal is Bucking around on Steven! Crystal is unamused and unrepentant. she still thinks she’s got another horse in the race.
Mary leaves the party to race home and put on her best shoulder pads and come console Steven! It’s not sloppy seconds if you owned the buffet first! Time to confront the slut with what they know!
Crystal is all ‘So? Bucks a star- we’ll live on his money!’ Um- sorry chippie- none of the Duchess’s radio stations will be playing that noise anymore. You’re back to the 5 & dime!
Mary? Are you sure? Steven misses you, but your pride? What about it? At least wait until you’ve kicked Sylvias ass, right?
Mary races out of the lounge that is apparently the same size as the party- cuz why not, right? Ready to embrace Steven and forget the whole thing happened. Little Mary will get a seal for Christmas and it can live in Crystals tub.
credits: little me, Glamourdaze.