Stars: June Allyson, Joan Collins, Dolores Gray, Ann Sheridan, Ann Miller, Joan Blondell, Agnes Moorehead, Leslie Nielsen
When one mentions remakes of the beloved classic 1939 movie The Women, fiery glances and curses upon the house of Meg Ryan are to be expected. In the many, many, many, many years it’s been since I last saw this movie, I always made mention of the sub-par musical remake, too. What I found, upon re-watching it, though, was a secret I long held even from myself- I used to be obsessed with this movie. There are not enough synonyms for the word “awkward” out there to describe what kind of teenager I was. This amount of times I must have watched this only add to that level. For each line spoken, I knew what was coming next. And when I say remake, I don’t mean they reused the script. There are similar lines, sure, but not to the extent that my viewings of The Women, in the mean time, would have bestowed upon me the complete memorization of the filmed script of The Opposite Sex. I’ve long known my memory was faulty, that I have the amazing ability to bury even the most relevant things when I really want to, but wow, I had no idea I’d watched this that many times. For every three people that watch legitimate classics, there’s one of me, plugging away for pseudo-musicals like The Opposite Sex.
Now, just because I like it, and now am not afraid to say that I do like it, doesn’t mean I can’t see the flaws. For instance, what even in the fresh hell is this “Yellow Gold” musical? Were the nifty 50’s rife with musicals about fruit? With all the spray tans and orange hair, I get the feeling that this was straight out of Torch Song. I have to admit- that damn song is catchy, but I think the proper response to it is Joan Blondell’s. Illness. Musical highlight- the lyric “bananionaire.” Really. Another grievous error committed by the powers that be is casting Ann Miller as a show girl… who has no musical numbers. Who puts Ann Miller in a musical and doesn’t give her a number? Oh, that’s right, NO ONE. Except MGM in 1956, that is. Now, perhaps her name wasn’t big enough to carry the whole musical, as the star of the show ex-singer who makes a comeback, but come now. You can’t give June Allyson two and a half numbers (the ridiculous dubbed ballad only counts as half, in my book) and Ann Miller none.
Now, for what, in my humble opinion, they did right. They cut out that goddamn insufferable Peggy. Mother Mary, Peggy is practically the worst female character in the history of female characters. But I’m not here to break down The Women. They also gave the main character, in this instance Kay (Ashley) Hilliard, a legit job. In The Women, I suppose we’re to assume that Mary Haines will live the rest of her days as an ex-wife, from alimony check to alimony check. In this, Kay is all self reliant girl power and goes back to work. Hell yes! Sisters are doin’ it for themselves and all that. Also, angry Ann Miller throwing things.
I suppose I should be ashamed to admit that I like this catfight better than the one in The Women. Failure.
Oh, lest we forget the best slap in the history of the movies, courtesy June Allyson and Joan Collins’ flying earrings. Someone told June that Joan would pull away and told Joan that June would hold the slap. Nope. FLOING EARRINGS ALL OVER THE ROOM.
In a nutshell, this movie isn’t perfect. It’s pretty and its entertaining and its not as bad as you’ve been told. I mean, Ann Sheridan as your voice of reason? Why are you NOT watching this movie?
You can purchase The Opposite Sex from Warner Archive HERE.