Woman’s World (1954)


Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB

USA, 1954.  Twentieth Century Fox.  Screenplay by , , , , , from a story by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by Cyril J. Mockridge.  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .

This film belongs beside the Sirkian melodramas of the 1950s that seemed harmless but really had important social messages underlining them, though in this case the message isn’t too subtle and the overall quality isn’t up there with All That Heaven Allows or Written On The Wind. An auto plant president (Clifton Webb) invites three couples to New York City in order to decide which of the businessmen he’d like to have take over the position of General Manager at his factory. While the three gentlemen (Van Heflin, , Cornel Wilde) are quite anxious to prove their worthiness for the job, the real test of strength is in their wives. Webb knows full well that he expects just as much from executives’ wives as he does from their husbands, and so puts all three women (, Lauren Bacall, ) to an equal test. The film’s viewpoint, that the world is run by women who are hiding behind men, is ironic even now, but the process is enjoyable and the characters interesting. Bacall is especially fetching, though this is low-grade material considering the stuff she was doing in the forties. Directed by Jean Negulesco with his usual splashy sense of costumes and sets.

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