'The Women' lacks Luce's edge

PICTUREHOUSE, a company that is set to totally disappear from Warner Bros., has thrown a lot of last-gasp dough at the new film of “The Women”: They are spending a bundle promoting the Diane English written-and-directed outing. By now you know that English spent 16 years trying to update Clare Boothe Luce’s catty, bratty, bitter and cynical vision of upscale women at war with their men and each other. English will next attempt to bring Erica Jong’s infamous “Fear of Flying” to the screen as an R-rated project. If she has her druthers, she’ll star the often-Oscar-nominated Kate Winslet in the role of the sex-driven Isadora Wing. So, OK, one can never have everything: English has definitely taken the edge off of Mrs. Luce’s incessant bitchiness by turning her “women” into warm gal pals in a sometimes emotional sisterhood (a la “Sex and the City.”) I missed the Luce edge.

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WHENEVER I run into that titan of the Shubert Organization, Gerald Schoenfeld, he usually has trenchant things to say about critics, columnists, actors, directors, producer, writers, stagehands and unions. But recently, he only wanted to mention in passing that he has “the absolute sweetest, nicest, most wonderful leading man of all time” in the coming production of “Equus,” which opens Sept. 25 at the Broadhurst Theater. Of course, he meant Daniel Radcliffe. It’s fun to discover that under his steel exterior, Gerry is just a hopeless fan.

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NEXT SPRING Madonna will offer an exhibition in London of her most famous and notorious costumes — 300 items including the iconic “Material Girl” dress which she wore in the 1985 hit video…the gown from “Evita”…and the wedding dress from “Like a Virgin.” There is no reason why this exhibition won’t also come to the United States, but the Big M will decide.

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