The Women

Though its focus on modern women’s lives unfortunately made The Women a relative outlier in the 1930s Hollywood pantheon, this delightful melodrama follows three women through the travails (and joys) of their lives: the happy-go-lucky socialite Mary Haines (Norma Shearer), her gossipy, chatterbox cousin Sylvia Fowler (Rosalind Russell), and the seductive, smoky counter girl Crystal Allen (Joan Crawford). Despite the very simple plot—Crystal gets fleetingly involved with Mary’s husband, while Mary must hatch a plan to win her man back—the film is pure pleasure for the way the women interact. Anita Loos’s brilliant, wise-cracking script paves the way for the three actresses to do their vicious best under Cukor’s assured, sensitive direction.

Appears in: Bette & Joan

Genres: Melodrama

Other Films by George Cukor

Gaslight

Ingrid Bergman won the first of her three career Oscars for her intensely vulnerable, highly expressive work in Cukor’s taut, subtle marriage thriller. She plays opposite a suitably creepy Charles Boyer, whose psychopathic husband Gregory terrorizes Bergman’s Paula when the two move into her murdered aunt’s house. Upon learning that her aunt was murdered for