Mary Haines’ House in “The Women”

"The Women" movie 2008 remake red brick house for sale

The original 1939 version of The Women is a classic. It’s so campy and over the top that I always get a kick out of it. There were several “gimmicks” to the movie. For one thing, there wasn’t a single man in it. For another, it was filmed in black and white except for a lengthy fashion-show scene that they shot in color.

Writer and Director Diane English says she always thought it should be remade for contemporary audiences “because women have changed so much since then.” In 2008, she did just that, with a version that features actresses like Meg Ryan, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Annette Bening.

Meg Ryan's house-The Women

The tagline for the original was “It’s All About the Men.” But Diane believed that women have many more interests than just the opposite sex these days, so she says she “wanted to weave in issues of female empowerment, body image, and self-esteem.”

entry hall

Meg Ryan plays good-girl-done-wrong Mary Haines, and her traditional red-brick house held my interest more than the movie itself.

Here’s a shot of the living room during a party Mary threw for a large group of women. She supposedly did all the cooking for it herself “because I think people appreciate it.”

living room-mantel

Mary’s Kitchen:

Mary Haines kitchen 1

I really liked the kitchen with the stained wood backsplash and the open shelves.

kitchen 2

Meg Ryan is one of my favorite rom-com actresses, but she just didn’t look like herself in this movie. I watched her in the 2001 movie Kate & Leopold yesterday and was surprised by the difference.

kitchen 3

Ryan’s first acting job was playing Candice Bergen’s daughter in the George Cukor film Rich and Famous. Bergen played her mother again in The Women.

Diane English wrote the TV show “Murphy Brown” in the 1990s, which turned Bergen into a sitcom star.

kitchen 4

The brass and hunter green in the kitchen seemed like a bit of a ’90s flashback to me. Was that to show that the kitchen had been around a long time and wasn’t too trendy? Or is it a sign of trends to come?

kitchen 6

I’m a little puzzled by the TV on the counter, too. Wouldn’t that make it hard to open the cabinet doors above it? You may recall that they used that TV to show us part of a Dove commercial. Dove products were also shown on the bathroom counter in one scene.

kitchen 7

kitchen 8

powder room

Stephen’s Study:

study

Master Bedroom and Bath:

Mary Haines bedroom-The women

master bath

fireplace-decorated for Cmas

side with screened porch

This may be one of my favorite parts of the house–the screened porch. I wish they showed us an inside view!

screened porch

A lot of the movie was filmed in Massachusetts (Georgetown and Boston).

exterior side

Clare Boothe Luce wrote the original play as a poison-pen letter to all the catty, back-biting women she had met in New York City society. It was a smash hit on Broadway.

Clare Booth Luce

It was made into a movie in 1939 with MGM’s biggest female stars who were under contract with the studio at the time. Joan Crawford was one of them. She didn’t want to play the role of mistress Crystal Allen, but it turned out to be a great career move for her.

Joan Crawford-The Women

Eva Mendes played the part of Crystal in the remake but was fairly toothless compared to Crawford’s maneater:

Eva Mendes as Crystal Allen

Norma Shearer was perfectly cast in the role of good-girl-done-wrong Mary Haines. She had a great house in the original movie, too. Let’s take a look at it while we’re at it!

The Women original-Mary Haines' dining rm

Rosalind Russell played Sylvia Fowler, and it was her first comedic role. Her next movie was the classic screwball comedy His Girl Friday with Cary Grant, one of my all-time favorites. I’ve seen it so many times, I could probably recite it from memory…

I love the corner window seat at the base of Mary’s stairs. The windows are lined with open shelves:

The Women original-Mary Haines' stairs

In the play, there was a lesbian character that didn’t make it into the original movie. Diane English revived the character and developed Alex more thoroughly for the remake (played by Jada Pinkett Smith).

The Women original-Mary Haines-kitchen

*UPDATE*

The real house that the 2008 version of The Women was filmed in is now on the market and you can see the listing photos here. It confirmed my suspicions that the movie was filmed on location in the house and not on a separate soundstage.

Julia-simple-teal-signature2

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Comments

  1. says

    This is a great post Julia, I watched this movie and I am not sure what I thought of it!?! I did like that if you pay attention to the credits at the end, literally every person involved with the film was a women! The house is quite grand and beautiful on the outside, but I’m not totally sold on the inside. I never noticed the Dove commercial before!!
    .-= Nancy@marcusdesign´s last blog ..{thanks for the award!} =-.

  2. Kim says

    What a great post. I agree with Nancy. This house is grand and beautiful on the outside, but I expected more from the inside. I love the Home Alone house much more then this home.

    I love the 2nd house. It has charm and elegance.

  3. says

    Now I want to see this movie to see more of the house.
    I’ll have to come back to see Meg Ryan’s house tomorrow.
    She is one of my favorite actresses.

    Becky K.
    .-= Becky K´s last blog ..Prayers Appreciated =-.

  4. Freddi says

    Julia,
    I found your website last night and I could not pull away and go to bed. I typically just read a blog but never interact, but I just had to wish you well and tell you how much fun I had. Your bad MLS listings took me over the top. As for the current house: I want a screened porch like that!!!

  5. E. George says

    Hi Julia I agree with all of you guys I loved the house from the outside but the inside? Love Cloris she is always great. I loved the christmas decor scene. Do you think the girls in this movie did not seem to click? I must admit I don’t remember watching the original my sister loves old movies I tried to get her to see the new one she refused never mind. I love the original house it looks beautiful. Thanks for sharing it was great can’t wait to see Megs house I don’t know if you have seen her other movie Hanging Up now that is a house I think you might like. Until next time Goodmorning Goodevening and Goodnight Regards Esther from Sydney with crazy not Autumn weather……

  6. laney says

    …loved loved loved the original movie…and the first mary’s house was wonderful…

  7. says

    Julia,
    Love the 1939 house(set) so much better. Love Joan in the bathtub with that white phone. In her youth she was very pretty. Norma Shearer stole the show, tho in the movie. Thanks for posting the new and the old. Fun to look at.
    Robin
    .-= Robin´s last blog ..Living Room at the Cape House =-.

  8. says

    Thanks for showing the old and the new! The 1939 movie is such a hoot and I never tire of it. The remake was OK. Loved seeing both houses!

  9. Sue says

    I usually don’t write in to blogs..but I absolutely love your blog and your passion for homes. I had to write because I just rented “The Women” this weekend, so I found it eerie that you had a post about the movie today!!

  10. Kat in Texas says

    The 1939 original is one of my hands-down favorite movies. Love the original house with that divine window seat, and I always chuckle at Joan’s bathtub with the “waves” on the front and side. Have not seen the remake, but I do love the screened-in porch. I agree with Dagny–Meg Ryan is way too botoxed. I know age catches up with all of us, but she no longer looks like the “real” Meg. Enjoyed this post, Julia, and a good day to all!

  11. Carol M says

    I’d have to go with the original version house — so much charm. Love the window seat by the stairs, and I am a total sucker for an old kitchen with a vintage stove. The original was very campy, but when it’s showing on TCM, I end up watching it again. L’amour, L’amour!

  12. says

    You make me to want to see this movie right now!!!! I love the house!!! Thank you!
    Kisses
    Etta

  13. says

    Amazingly…I haven’t seen the movie! I will rent it this week though…the kitchen looks wonderful. I did not grow up with a screened porch, however, the house we own right now did have one. We thought we would change it to an all year space, but we love it too much as it is. There is just something very magical about a screened porch.
    Susan
    .-= Black Eyed Susans Kitchen´s last blog ..SPRINGTIME ENTERTAINING MADE EASY =-.

  14. Heather Collins says

    Your site is now officially part of my morning routine !
    Check emails, respond to them, sigh, check out Hooked on Houses for an uplifting 10 minutes before I start my day….thank you!!

  15. Nicole says

    I think the house is at Rolling Ridge conference center in North Andover on Great PondRoad.

  16. says

    I love the movie house posts so much!!!
    I’ve seen both versions of this movie, and loved them both, but I feel like they are so different I can’t really pick which I like better. The original is so great but I have a soft spot for the cast in the remake, love all those ladies especially Meg. That scene when she is eating a stick of butter dipped in sugar and cocoa because she is upset and doesn’t keep candy in the house?! Oy. Hilarious, but this is why one always keeps an emergency chocolate bar hidden somewhere!
    Mary’s house (the remake version) is so gorgeous and I love that they made references to her doing a lot of the decorating and renovating herself. If I ever have a big screened porch like that I will be one happy lady.
    .-= Hip Hip Gin Gin´s last blog ..Simple Pleasures =-.

  17. says

    Julia, again a fabulous post! I adore you site! Again, I learn something new. I have never seen this movie and now I am going to rent it. And I also agree with you about the screened in porch as a favorite. I want to see the movie if only for the house!
    .-= Kim´s last blog ..White shell wreath! =-.

  18. says

    I watched this movie principally for the interiors. When I heard of all the production difficulties, I was not expecting much. I have seen the original many times and it is witty, catty and smart. It’s a tough act to follow. I agree with you about Meg Ryan’s new look. What has she done to herself? She was always so adorable, now it’s hard to look at her. If she had allowed herself to age more gracefully she would be so much more attractive. Now it’s hard for me to look at her. In comparing the two homes, the first Mary Haines home reflects her personality. It’s sunny, friendly and welcoming. In the more recent one, while it’s a lovely home, I just don’t get quite the same vibe. That’s just my opinion, which I agree may be a bit biased. I love your posts and try to visit you each day! Thanks for the excellent job you do!!

    Love,
    Susan and Bentley
    xxoo
    .-= Susan´s last blog ..Brown Bag Lunch Recipe #1 =-.

  19. says

    I think I like the house in the original movie better than the newer version! Thank you for not only offering us some neat views of the homes, but also some cool insight into how the films were made/the actors’ backgrounds, etc. :) I do love that screened in porch!!

  20. Meadowlark says

    For the record – Rosalind Russell shines in AUNTIE MAME. More than any other movie. Now THERE is an amazing house/set.

    Peace!

  21. Mercedes says

    Great post , Julia, as always!!!
    For me the best of this movie was the house too!!!
    Mondays are my favourite web day, you find incredible pictures
    greetings from autumm in buenos aires

  22. Sharon says

    I think the house used for this movie is for sale in Dover, MA.

  23. says

    always look forward to your movie posts… am now lusting for a screen porch… and
    off to find the original movie… I think I love that house. Thanks for your work and sharing.
    .-= diana´s last blog ..Maine Kitchen Phase 1 =-.

  24. Billy says

    I drove from San Diego to San Francisco to see this movie opening night with friends; the consensus was “The Opposite Sex” (56), was a better remake even with the addition of men and music. (June Allyson sang…a lot, although Joan Collins did play a last-line-of-the-film very well)

    The latest house come across as one planed in the the late 20’s and built during the 30’s: interior embellishments were cut back to save money. Or the interior was stripped down in the 50’s to fit the style of the time.

    Sorry for being a broken record, IE the original is better, and thanx for the post

  25. Evelyn says

    I loved both houses…I still especially like the sheer criss cross curtains in the original movie. There’s something about them that makes a house seem so homey….I still use them in my master bathroom. I don’t care that they’re out of style…my bathroom is decorated in a very old fashioned design…not trendy…but I like it. The kitchen in the original looks so out of date to our modern eyes but was so state of the art for 1939. My grandmothers would’ve killed for a kitchen like that.
    And Meg….please stop with the injections…you don’t look like your cute self anymore. Please age gracefully and naturally…we’ll still love you. Thanks for a great post!

  26. says

    Julia-I have seen both versions of the movie and and there is a world of difference—even in the type of women cast. I do love that traditional red brick house. It looks as if the screened porch is a side wing which a look I love. That arched shell book alcove in the original is another favorite! Canidice Bergen and Cloris Leachman never disappoint me!
    .-= Susan´s last blog ..The Food Network Has Found My Secret =-.

  27. says

    Meg Ryan doesn’t look like herself because she looks weird. Plastic surgery. It’s sad really. She was so pretty before.

    I’ve never seen the original of this nor the new one. The house is really nice.

    I almost checked out His Girl Friday but decided against it. Maybe I’ll get it next time.
    .-= Carmen´s last blog ..Easter Menu =-.

  28. Donna says

    I’ve always loved the house in the original film. And I’ve always loved Norma Shearer who makes a wonderful Mary Haine. The light, crystal, upolstery, warmth in the first film was missing from the 2nd which looked as disheveled as Met Ryan. And by the way, Kate and Leopold could have been a really great fun film but I couldn’t get past Meg’s hair in that movie – it was a mess!

    Thank you for doing The Women!

  29. Donna says

    Evelyn, the curtains in your bath are called Prisillas and they were very popular especially in dotted swiss. I love them too and they can be f0und in lots of old movies: Andy Hardy’s, Since You Went Away, The Bishop’s Wife, etc. They are a classic and I’ll bet they’re lovely!

    • hookedonhouses says

      Susan–
      Thank you! That solves the mystery of both where it’s located and whether they filmed inside the actual house (those photos show that they did!). -Julia

  30. says

    OH MY GOODNESS – I just thought of another awesome Meg Ryan house – “When a Man Loves a Woman” with Andy Garcia…that house in San Fran (I think)…it’s mission style, quite beautiful!!!

    ~angela @ peonypatch
    .-= Angela´s last blog ..I’m a Cat… =-.

  31. Andrea says

    I’ve loved the original version so much, seeing the interiors is a real thrill. Way back in the 50’s my mother and I used to visit a friend of hers who had Priscilla curtains and open shelves in the windows, just like this. Her shelves held a beautiful collection of blue glass pieces. The light would shine through them and make her living room seem like a piece of Heaven.

  32. devil says

    I loved, LOVED the 1939 version of The Women. The remake was terrible…mostly because Meg Ryan was totally wrong for the part of Mary Haines and gives a very bad performance. Plus, her awful plastic surgery is so distracting (mean, but true).

    And, yes, the repeated, not-so-subtle advertising of Dove products was just plain tacky.

    On a positive note, the Haines house in the remake was lovely.

    The interiors in the original film were so lovely that it makes one have to watch the film many times to catch all the loveliness. You wouldn’t want to get distracted and miss any of the great, snappy dialogue. Save the set-watching for the fifth or sixth time you watch the movie.

  33. says

    This comment is late…I am a little behind on reading my favorite blogs. I just had to leave a comment. The original version is my favorite of this movie. I have seen it multiple times. I think Norma Sharer was wonderful as the wounded wife. She played the part so well that you couldn’t help but empathize with her and likewise hate the character played by Joan Crawford. Mary Haines had so much dignity in her handling of the situation. It may not be totally realistic but she was such a gentle soul. I found myself wishing I was like her and if I was in the same situation I would like to handle myself as respectfully as she did. Instead I would probably be a crazy lady! Joan @Americana By Candlelight

  34. mary says

    Love to see house from “meet the Parents” and “wedding Crashers” !

  35. Alina says

    Could you pleaso do an article about Maggie Rice`s house in City of angels?