The Women (1939)

Much is made of International Women’s Day, and I find myself inundated with messages relating to that, beginning a week in advance of March 8. Promotions from online retailers, newspaper ads, flyers offering discounts on everything from spa treatments to cosmetics: it’s all there. I however tend to mostly ignore Women’s Day and treat it just as another day.

This time, though, I thought: why not post a review of a film that puts women in an important role? It occurred to me then that it had been years—more years than I could remember—since I had watched The Women. And that this might be a good excuse to rewatch a very unusual film: unusual, not because of the story (which isn’t so very offbeat), but because of the fact that the film has no male characters appearing onscreen. Men are there in The Women, but they are neither seen nor heard.

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Waterloo Bridge (1940)

Individually, both Charles Boyer and Irene Dunne said Love Affair was their favourite of the films they’d acted in. Quite an achievement for a film—one reason why I’d put Waterloo Bridge in the same league as Love Affair. The two stars of this film, Robert Taylor and Vivien Leigh, also rated Waterloo Bridge as their favourite of all the films they’d acted in (yes, Vivien Leigh rated this higher even than Gone With the Wind!). Like Love Affair, this is also a love story. And it too takes a very tragic turn midway.

Robert Taylor and Vivien Leigh in Waterloo Bridge

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