So the rumored remake of George Cukor's The Women is becoming a reality and I have to say, I'm leery.
The classic 1939 woman's picture (adpated by Anita Loos from Clare Boothe Luce's play) that reveals female bonding and bitchiness in its purest form needs no update. Yes, a lot of things have changed since then but enough to deepen the picture? Or make it funnier? Or more relevant? I guess the ladies can prattle on about sex...yawn. If the picture takes that overplayed Sex and the City approach, I will personally boycott. Of course I won't, I'm too curious, but you know what I mean.
The original film stars Norma Shearer as a devoted wife to a cheater (his mistress is the brilliantly catty, gold-digging Joan Crawford) who learns the awful news through gossip in the beauty parlor. Aiding and/or sabotaging her pride is her circle of friends, Paulette Goddard, Mary Boland, Joan Fontaine and the loud-mouth, drama-loving Rosalind Russell. Wonderful for its spiky dialogue and reflections on female friendships and marriage, it's simultaneously delicious and intelligently biting. It's also incredibly funny. Even better, there's an all-color fashion show mid-way through that's simply stunning. How are they going to handle that in the remake? Turn the film to black and white? Would they dare?
Anyway, I've just read that Murphy Brown scripter Diane English is set to helm The Women, Redux with Meg Ryan, Lisa Kudrow, Anne Hathaway and Candice Bergen on board. Originally, I read that Annette Bening, Ashley Judd and Uma Thurman were set to star which would have been a lot more fun...I guess. I'm not entirely sold on Ryan presumably taking over Shearer's part and especially Hathaway filling Crawford's fuzzy mules. Only the great Faye Dunaway can achieve that Herculean, shoulder strutting task.
Wow, OK. Holy shit. After writing this it just occured to me that even I have no idea just how much of a stereotypical gay man I can be. Next I'll be complaining about the Lucille Ball musical version of Auntie Mame (that's Mame) and how much I adore the fabulously talented Tyne Daly. Not that, as they say, there's anything wrong with that. Aside from the Tyne Daly part.
And I really do love Rosalind Russell's Auntie Mame even if it occasionally gets on my nerves. Also, I watched Bette Davis' Mr. Skeffington (directed by Vincent Sherman) twice in one day.
Now that would be an interesting remake. No one could ever replace Bette Davis but the woman- desperately-holding-on-to-her-youth story is certainly more relevant today. I'm not sure how the filmmakers would handle the subtle and tender Claude Rains returning from a concentration camp a broken, blind man serving as weirdly upbeat ending (you see, the poor, tortured man never has to look at Davis' now age-ravaged face, so goody for her) but it could be...intriguing.
Now, back to Beyond the Forest.