"See them with their hair down and their claws out" ran the movie strapline for Monday's offering by the Whanganui Film Society - the 1939 comedy satire The Women.
The Women was famous for it's all female cast which includes A-listers Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer, Rosalind Russell and Joan Fontaine and, being written by women, for its authentic take on the female perspective.

However, it was billed as a battle of the bitches, the story revolving around spoiled, scheming, idle rich matrons of Manhattan, a group of women with nothing to do except eat lunch and get their nails painted Jungle Red. Perhaps a precursor to the endless Real Housewives series of reality television.

The Women is the story of nice girl Mary Haines (Norma Shearer), sporty and straightforward, who loses her husband to shop-girl vamp Crystal Allen, a red-lipped, black-eyed Joan Crawford. Swimming around the disaster like sharks around a shipwreck are Mary's friends.

Reviewing for The Guardian, Jeanette Winterson wrote: "Women, women everywhere, and not a man in sight.


"But if you are looking for proto-feminism, you won't find it in The Women> ... but you will have a very good time, and you'll understand why feminism had to happen.

"A camp, full-on drag queen production and the only women you are likely to meet nowadays who look or act like this are men."

Directed by George Cukor, the film screens at 7pm on Monday at the Davis Theatre, Whanganui Regional Museum. It is the second to last film of the Film Society's season.