The "Women Make Movies IV" international women's film festival showed George Cukor's 1939 film "The Women" at the American Film Institute Theater last night and former ambassador Clare Boothe Luce attended with a group of her friends. The movie was an adaptation of Clare Boothe's 1936 Broadway play of the same name. Luce said at the end of the movie, which starred Rosalind Russell, Joan Fontaine, Joan Crawford, Paulette Goddard and Norma Shearer, that it was the first time she had seen it in 30 years. Her play, she said, calls for a cast of 40 women, so that over the years more than 300,000 have played in it, "making me the greatest employer of women in the theater." Last night's showing included a rare color fashion-show sequence that has recently been reinserted in the black-and-white film.
Actress Ellen Burstyn, who is the head of the legendary Actors Studio, was the special guest at Saturday's opening night of the festival, which runs through Sunday. Burstyn, the honorary festival chairman, who stayed through the weekend, related how a friend asked why she had cut short a vacation in the Bahamas to attend a women's film festival, when no one had ever heard of a men's film festival. Burstyn responded, "Yes, you have. It's called Hollywood."