For, June 6, 2014

The Fox Cinema Archives label, which has been releasing vintage titles from the Twentieth Century Fox vaults on a fairly regular basis continues to mix up B-movie titles that it's hard to imagine anyone wanting to rent, much less purchase, with fondly remembered films that fans have long wanted to have on their shelves.

The latest release in that latter category is "Woman's World" (1954), a delightful drama about the women in the lives of business executives, and the conflicts and joys they bring to the table.

Clifton Webb stars as an automotive mogul who plans to promote one of his execs to the important position of the company's general manager. So he brings the three most likely candidates to New York to size them up, and insists they bring their wives. Webb believes the woman behind the man is an important component to success, and without the employees' knowledge, he plans to size up their wives as well.

The couples are: workaholic Jerry and flirty, ambitious Carol (Van Heflin, Arlene Dahl); anxious Sid and worried Elizabeth (Fred MacMurray, Lauren Bacall), whose marriage is on the rocks; and down-to-earth Bill (Cornel Wilde) and his loving wife Katie (June Allyson), who isn't so sure this promotion is the best thing for their family.


              Lauren Bacall, Fred MacMurray, 'Woman's World'

The characters all intermingle, but the real focus is on the relationships that develop among the women, in particular with poised, well-heeled Elizabeth who notices that middle-class Katie is a bit adrift, so she kindly takes her under her wing to show her the ropes.

This is a well-written film that relies heavily on the star power of its cast, and each member delivers big time.

Engaging and warm, this is the kind of drama they really don't make anymore. But it's a welcome bit of nostalgia, and boasts some vivid sequences in its widescreen CinemaScope and Technicolor presentation.