This is a wonderfully dated (though still very relevant) and thoroughly entertaining comedy from the genius George Cukor. Perfect Wife Norma Shearer's marriage hits the rocks when her less-than-perfect husband begins an affair with the sluttish shopgirl Joan Crawford. Her friends rally round her as she ignores, complains, divorces, and finally rediscovers her own self-worth.
The performances are wonderful. Shearer is winsome and emotional, Crawford is venomous and ambitious (though we don't see enough of her character), and Rosalind Russell steals the show as the scheming, manipulative and two-faced 'Friend' you'd like to hit with a bus. The dialogue is spectacular, comparable in places with Bette Davis in her magnificent opus 'All About Eve', and the ensemble cast of over 150 women hangs together beautifully.
The direction, too, is superior, and Cukor exacts almost superhuman expressions and angles from the 'Faces' - Crawford, Russell and, most of all, Shearer. The gowns, hats, gloves, shoes, furs and jewelery in 'The Women' play almost as important a part in the picture as the cast members themselves, and the 'glorious technicolour' fashion show is a gem.
Sadly, 'The Women' suffers from the same syndrome as all Stage-to-Screen movies do. In a theatre, with scene and time restrictions, the audience depends on dialogue and character interaction for entertainment. In movies, such restrictions don't exist, and 'The Women', like 'Cabaret', 'The Sound of Music' and 'Funny Girl' after it, suffers from a 30-minute or so period in the centre, where it unfortunately loses its momentum. However, the ending is wonderful, especially Crawford's line about Kennels, and for anybody, 'The Women' stands the test of time as an illustration of the awful and hilarious power of gossip.