Sunday, February 20, 2011

Chelsea Classics: The Women (1939)

I've had to pay attention to my offline life, which is why I'm only now posting about last Thursday today. Last Friday, I made my way to Chelsea to see The Women, the 1939 original, not the God-awful remake with Eva Mendes and friends. It's so nice to get to see old movies on a big screen every once in a while. And it's even better when you get a drag show thrown in for no extra cost.
We were treated to commentary and a bit of film history by the lovely Hedda Lettuce. She's hilarious and very naughty. She was nice enough to raffle off stuff like free movie passes and Boy Butter lube. The audience was fantastic; there were a lot of regulars in the audience, many of whom had seen the movie a ton of times and quoted bits and pieces of the dialogue.

I was so excited to see this movie. My high school put on the play which was funny but I'd always wanted to see it. It's definitely funny because the script, adapted from the Clare Booth Luce play, is hilarious, not because it's dated. The laughs don't stop. It tells the story of Park Avenue society women and all their dirty dealings with men. Joan Crawford is fantastic as the man trap Crystal Allen. She's so deliciously mean, you don't know whether to clap for her or pull her hair out. Rosalind Russell goes toe-to-toe with Joan as the hypocritcal gossipmonger Sylvia Fowler. In fact, Russell was so good that it took me a while to realize that this awful, slouchy creature was the same tough-as-nails reporter in His Girl Friday.

It was so clever how all the men were off-screen but so central to the plot; the tagline "It's all about men!" is really spot on here. Click here for a great montage of the best lines of the film; that's really the only way to explain how good it is. Of course, there are the usual problems with these movies. Marriage solves everything and you have to fight for your man even if he cheats on you with the trollop from the perfume counter and then marries her. Norma Shearer ends the movie with outstretched arms, running to her ex-husband off-screen and I can't help but wonder if she won't find herself on another train to Reno pretty soon.

New Yorkers, please make your way to Clearview Cinemas in Chelsea (23rd &8th) on Thursday nights for Chelsea Classics. You won't regret it, especially since it's only $7.50!

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1 comment:

  1. I haven't seen that movie yet, I'll put it on my 'movies-to-watch-list'! :)


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