WOMEN, THE (1939) Feminine battle of the century begins


[Los Angeles: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1939]. Vintage original 4 1/2 x 6 3/4″ (12 x 22 cm.) black-and-white glossy silver gelatin photo, with blank margins around, mimeographed text and date stamp on verso. A few tiny tears at the very top middle blank white margin, near fine.

The still photography released for the “fight” sequence between Rosalind Russell and Paulette Goddard appear to have been made while the actresses were enacting the scene. Typically, still photographs are posed and taken after the director, motion picture cameraman and crew have finished the last take, to represent the action and the story. For this series of photos — which the original typed blurb on the verso describes as “the feminine battle of the century” — the ladies appear to give it the full action.

In image coded 1091-152 the battle is about to start as Russell and Goddard insult each other. Norma Shearer attempts to hold Russell back. Joan Fontaine and Mary Boland register great surprise. Director George Cukor let his star actresses go to town in this battle.

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