You know, a long time ago I decided to travel the same open road that men travel, so I treat men exactly the way they’ve always treated women.
In this film Ruth Chatterton does a fantastic job playing a man-eating auto executive. She’s the president of her company and she takes a male employee home every night, if you know what I mean, ostensibly for business. This is a pre-code film, so it’s pretty daring in its dialogue and its situations. There’s a great scene where one of the men she’s casually slept with pursues her at work and declares his love; she scowls at him, dresses him down for unprofessionalism and has him transferred to a plant outside the country. Chatterton is really wonderful in the movie; her seduction scenes are witty and sexy (she signals that she’s done talking about work by casually tossing a sofa pillow across the room where it always lands perfectly in front of the fireplace) and when the script calls for her to be ferocious, she’s that too. And there’s a surprising sequence that keeps things vague, as far as dialogue goes, but makes it quite clear that her boytoy for the night is gay. Bad instincts on that one. She sends him on his way with a pat on the back and a rueful grin. But George Brent, of course, crosses paths with her and love is on the horizon. Brent and Chatterton have great chemistry; they previously starred together in the more comedic The Rich Are Always With Us and were actually married at the time they made Female, so I suppose they should. It’s an interesting movie. But it’s ultimately a surprisingly feminist movie, though the ending will provoke some debate. Still, I really loved the movie; it was witty, charming and wonderfully acted. And at only three minutes over an hour, it’s a quick, breezy watch. 4 stars.
tl;dr – entertaining pre-code film follows Chatterton’s sexually promiscuous businesswoman on misadventures; witty, with great performances & surprisingly thought-provoking. 4 stars.