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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Women's World (released in 1954) - a drama about corporate life

Women's World is a drama from the 1950's post war America where the “Wife” played the perfect hostess for furthering the husbands career. This film stars, Lauren Bacall, Clifton Webb, June Allyson, Arlene Dahl and Fred McCuray. The plot has Ernest Gifford, the eccentric owner of Gifford industries trying to pick up the most suitable candidate for the post of General Manager. Since he believes that behind every successful man, there is a entertaining hostess and support, he wants to evaluate all the potential candidates with their spouses. So he invites the men along with their wives to his vacation cottage. He also has the help of his socialite sister Evelyn, to assess the wives.
The first couple, Bill and Katie Baxter are young parents, very much in love. Katie is a homebody, cherished and very devoted to her hubby and hearth. She is a klutz, very ignorant of the social graces and with a very outdated wardrobe. Katie secretly hopes her husband is overlooked so that her family life is not disrupted. But Bill loves the thought of a promotion and sincerely hopes to make the cut.
The second couple are the not so young Elizabeth and Sidney Burns who are happily married but squabbling for attention. Liz believes that Sid being so busy would work himself to death and ruin their marriage. She asks him to give his family the first preference to his career. But Sid hopes the sophisticated and accomplished Liz would land him the job.

Carol and Jerry Talbot are the upwardly mobile couple who for all appearances are happily married. Carol being the sexy ambitious one prods Jerry shamelessly to do anything to get this promotion. Jerry is less willing and wishes to get the job for his own merit. So the wives prepare their own private hell to help their husbands. The innocent Katie and the lady like Liz hit it off and Liz even finds a wardrobe to match Katie's budget. Carol tries all trick of the trade to get Gifford's attention and this actually makes Bill and Sid see red. They try to reason with Katie and Liz who are disappointed but pitch in reluctantly to support their husbands. Amidst all the drama Carol makes a brazen effort in seducing Gifford which shames Jerry. Jerry sees her for what she is, a social hussy and asks her to leave. On the ultimate night Jerry is alone and informs Gifford about his break up. Gifford congratulates him for his good sense and awards him the promotion. The other husbands realize that their family means more to them and applaud Gifford's choice.
This movie was one of the most well received movies of 1954. It revolves around the values of post war America where the upwardly mobile middle class were part of the well oiled societal set up. Women were the gracious hostesses who supported their husbands careers. Sexy, ambitious women like Carol were disliked and not rewarded. It might look a bit sexist now, but it is true that it was the era of damsels and gentlemen. You had either Lady Liz or goody Katy to keep your job. But one has to remember that it is the 50's where women had not joined the work force in droves and feminism had not made its mark.
Lauren Bacall plays the role of the sophisticated Liz to perfection and June Allyson is great as the simple Katie Baxter. Arlene Dahl, smoulders as the sexy Carol and the men play the supporting roles to perfection. And to top it all these women had great clothes, its the icing on the cake. In-spite of some hiccups this is really an entertaining fun movie.

Women's World (released in 1954) - a drama about corporate life

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