Synopsis

Needing to fill the position of general manager of his company, and believing that an executive's wife is crucial to her husband's success, auto industry mogul Gifford brings three couples to New York to size up: Jerry and Carol: he hard-driven and self-reliant, she willing to use her beauty to further her husband's career; Sid and Elizabeth, he ulcer-ridden and torn between achieving success and restoring their troubled marriage, she positive that his job will kill him, but gamely agreeing to play the good wife for the duration; and down-to-earth Bill, whose good-natured Katie fears that his promotion would spell the end of their idyllic familiy existence.

Director

Jean Negulesco

Cast

Clifton Webb
as Ernest Gifford
June Allyson
as Katie Baxter
Cornel Wilde
as Bill Baxter
Lauren Bacall
as Elizabeth Burns
Fred MacMurray
as Sid Burns
Van Heflin
as Jerry Talbot
Arlene Dahl
as Carol Talbot

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by nehresman N/A

Car Lover's Alert

Last night I saw Woman's World: The plot concerns three hot shot salesmen who have been summoned to New York for consideration as the general manager of a fictional automobile company. They salesmen are asked to bring their wives along as the company president believes his executives need the proper kind of wife to be an effective senior manager. Much intrigue, drama, and hilarity ensue.

Ford motor company participated significantly in this movie. In addition to a large number of 1954 Ford products, the movie featured two Ford fiftieth anniversary concept cars from 1953: the X-100 and the XL-500

At the beginning of the movie, one couple is shown driving to New York in a Mercury Monterey.

The lead character played by Clifton Web is the president of 'Gifford Motors. Gifford Motors' cars all resemble Ford Motor Company cars. In one scene, the lobby of the Gifford building is shown with the X-100 and the XL-500 displayed. A Gifford manager is demonstrating the features of the X-100 to a member of the public. The Plexiglas roof panel is shown automatically sliding into position as the windows rise to prevent the interior from being damaged in case it rained while the car was left open. Apparently this was a big problem in the 50s as 'automatically closing in case of rain' was a feature of many concept cars including the Buick LeSabre.

Later, the three wives are given a tour of New York in the X-100 with street scenes of the car in front of the New York Public Library and the United Nations among other locations.

Throughout the movie, company executives come and go in a Lincoln sedan and a convertible.

In one scene the president take the three potential general managers to the 'proving grounds' where we see a variety of Fords whizzing around a banked oval at high speeds with appropriate sound effects.

Another scene shows a futuristic feature being demonstrated by three large-scale tabletop models of prototype cars: one model drives forward, stops, makes a whirring sound, and then moves sideways into a parking space between the other two models. Presumably it was lowering dolly wheels when it made the whirring sound. This was a 50s approach to solving the age-old parallel parking problem for which solutions are still being pursued today – see the latest Lexus automatic parallel parking feature. A boardroom scene also shows a tabletop model although it's not clear if it's different from the previous three. There is also a scene in the interior design department with many prototype seats of varying color and design.

In addition to being a great movie, it is a real treat for lovers of early 50s Ford products.

Reviewed by vincentlynch-moonoi 7 /10

Highly flawed, yet entertaining

From my perspective, this is a pretty good film with one huge and one small flaw. The huge flaw is making June Allyson's character a buffoon. The small flaw is the lovely Arlene Dahl, who just doesn't work out in this project.

The story is interesting. There's a major opening in the management of an auto company owned by Clifton Webb. Webb believes that in such a position, a wife's role is almost as important as her husband's role. So he invites 3 couples to New York City to try out for the position. The first couple is June Allyson and Cornel Wilde. The second is Fred MacMurray and Lauren Bacall. The third is Van Heflin and Arlene Dahl.

The most interesting couple is MacMurray and Bacall. They're having serious marriage problems. It's not that they don't love each other. It's that they have different goals. MacMurray isn't dealing well with the pressures of business, and Bacall thinks that the promotion will kill him. Will she stay or go? Will he turn down the opportunity or go for it? Then there's June Allyson and Cornel Wilde. He wants the job, but his wife wants "small town" life in Kansas City.

And third is Van Heflin and Arlene Dahl -- Texans. Dahl is overly ambitious, and seemingly more for herself than her very down to earth husband. Loving partner or slut? And then there's Clifton Webb, who is a clever owner of the company. Observing each of the couples carefully while playing things close to his chest.

As mentioned, June Allyson plays the down-to-earth housewife from the mid-west who doesn't feel she will fit in New York City. She doesn't plot to intentionally sabotage her husband, but she's like a hick bull in c china shop. The trouble is, it's overdone and would have been even more effective had it been more subtle. Cornel Wilde is very good as the husband, and it seems like a very different role for him, Van Heflin seems oblivious to his handicap -- his wife. But he learns, and in doing so it's a fairly strong performance (for an actor I don;t usually enjoy much). Arlene Dahl just seems all wrong for this role -- a totally unlikable character that is all to beautiful; and I say that usually having liked her as a second tier actress.

This is hardly Fred MacMurray's best role, but he does "alright" with it. Lauren Bacall shines in it as his wife.

Clifton Webb is excellent here, although his role is secondary here. But he is controlled and poised, just as the role calls for. Webb always had a way of stealing scenes, although here he doesn't. Nevertheless, it's a fine performance. His sister in the film is a sort of balance to him; Margaret Gillmore plays the role just right.

The success of the film turns on whether or not Webb chooses the "right" man/couple for the promotion. He does, although who that right person is will surprise some, although the groundwork for the decision is not laid until late in the film. Interesting turn of events.

Despite the flaws, a unusually interesting film of the type that 20th Century Fox was quite well known for in the 1950s.

Reviewed by JLRMovieReviews 8 /10

The Best Couple for the Job is....

Van Heflin with wife Arlene Dahl, Fred MacMurray with wife Lauren Bacall, and Cornel Wilde with June Allyson are competing for a position left vacant by an executive who has died and left some big boots to be filled in an automobile corporation. Clifton Webb is the President of the company who'll make the decision for the best man for the job (and the best woman) - because she has duties herself - to be an asset to her husband and the company, to be a social butterfly, and just to be ready for anything. Clifton Webb as the President has high expectations for those around him, and he is just the actor for the role, as he has the ego and presence to carry the film on his own. With different personalities and what each can give to the job, Clifton has quite a decision to make. June Allyson is a standout, as she is her usual ebullient self, and Arlene Dahl is decked out to the nines. But of course. As you can tell, I thoroughly enjoyed the film. The characters of the candidates and their spouses are established early on and we feel we are watching real people as they relate to each other in moments of love and moments of disharmony. The film may feel too much like the 1950s and therefore a bit dated, but I think it adds to its entertainment value. But I do grant you the title and how it works itself in is rather corny. But, hey, you're either invested in these peoples' lives or you're not. And, while it may not be that important to be remembered in the long run, Woman's World certainly gives us a chance to see all these stars together. Everyone wins!

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