Review by Ann McDonald
A study of the lives and romantic entanglements of various interconnected women.
If you like gossip, backstabbing, fashion shows and broken marriages, then this is right up your alley as we have lots of cats to keep you company. I must admit, when I sat down to view this movie, I was intrigued by the notion of a film with an all female cast with a constellation of the best actresses in 1939. There are many subplots in this movie to give it bulk but the main story centers on Mary Haines (Norma Shearer), happily married with a young daughter and a group of girlfriends who are all Manhattan wives, who want for nothing and do nothing except frequent beauty salons and fashion shows.
Well we all know that the devil will, invariably, find work for idle hands. And mouths! One of Mary’s friends, Sylvia Fowler (Rosalind Russell), loves to chatter but when she finds out that Mary’s husband is cheating on her with Crystal Allen (Joan Crawford), she plots to ensure that Mary goes to the salon and ascertains that the manicurist is the same one that told her about the extramarital affair. Apparently, Crystal, the woman he’s having an affair with, works in an expensive perfume boutique and Sylvia wants to stir things up.
Women drift in and out of the scenes without any reason except to make the most appalling noise as they try to talk over each other. I couldn’t begin to sort out the terrible shenanigans that fills the movie for over two hours. I literally felt like abdicating myself from the female species. I thank God I have never been subjected to the goings on portrayed here. I am sure that there are many good and even excellent movies that we need to see restored but believe me, this isn’t one of them.
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