Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Irregularly scheduled on NBC from 1954-1957, Producers' Showcase was a series of lavish, full-color, 90-minute specials, bringing the best of Broadway to the 21-inch screen. One of the more memorable presentations in this anthology was director Vincent Donahue's live staging of Clare Boothe Luce's brilliantly vitriolic 1936 stage comedy, The Women, which had previously been filmed by MGM in 1939. Boasting a stellar all-female cast, The Women centers around the tactics used by the supposedly demure Mary Haines (here played by Ruth Hussey) to win back her husband from predatory shopgirl Crystal Allen (Shelley Winters). Meanwhile, Mary's so-called friends gossip, bicker, and "diss" with bitchy abandon, both in New York and on a Reno "divorce ranch." Mary Boland, who played the much-married Countess DeLage in the 1939 movie, repeats her role in the TV version, while Paulette Goddard, who portrayed mercenary chorus dancer Miriam in the film, is here ironically cast as the malicious Sylvia Fowler, whose husband is stolen away by Miriam (played on this occasion by Valerie Bettis). The Women was adapted for television by Sumner Locke Elliot.