HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Amulet
Flag Day
Boris Karloff: The Man Behind the Monster
Nest, The
Martin Eden
Halloween Kills
Cicada
Sun Shines Bright, The
Last Thing Mary Saw, The
Comets
Herself
Mon Oncle d'Amerique
Wild Strawberries
Runner, The
Don't Look Up
Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Eternals
Forever Purge, The
Memoria
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Legend of La Llorona, The
Japon
Glasshouse
Perdita Durango
Commando, The
Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror
Boiling Point
Malignant
Deadly Games
Ailey
Voyeurs, The
Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes
In the Earth
Hiroshima Mon Amour
Hotel Poseidon
Zola
No Time to Die
Klaus
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Candyman
   
 
Newest Articles
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
   
 
  Stepford Wives, The Automatic For The People
Year: 1975
Director: Bryan Forbes
Stars: Katharine Ross, Paula Prentiss, Peter Masterson, Patrick O'Neal, Nanette Newman, Tina Louise, Carol Eve Rossen, William Prince, Carole Mallory, Toni Reid, Judith Baldwin, Barbara Rucker, George Coe, Robert Fields, Josef Sommer, Mary Stuart Masterson
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Joanna Eberhart (Katharine Ross) is moving home today. She and her family are leaving the hustle and bustle of New York City and heading off for a new life in the upmarket smalltown of Stepford. But before they drive off, the budding photographer spots a man carrying a shop dummy along the street and snaps a few pictures of him. Once the family are in their station wagon, one of Joanna's two daughters points out, "Daddy, I just saw a man carrying a naked lady!" and Walter Eberhart (Peter Masterson) replies, "Well, that's why we're moving to Stepford." But could there be another reason? A method of improvement...?

But not improvement for Walter, who evidently is beyond help. Ira Levin's novel The Stepford Wives is a small gem of subtle menace which never stated outright what you, and the lead character Joanna, begins to suspect. It's been said that the film is more like Invasion of the Bodysnatchers, but while Levin managed to be slyly satircal about men's attitude to the then-recent women's liberation movement, here Bryan Forbes and his screenwriter William Goldman apparently decided to take a sledgehammer to crack a walnut and if you didn't work out the message from the first five minutes then there was no hope for your powers of deduction.

Maybe this is what happens when you allow men to take up the mantle of feminism, but according to Goldman, the overstatement inherent in the production was a lesser crime than what really "doomed" the movie, and that was the casting of Forbes' wife Nanette Newman as one of the wives. I don't know why he was so surprised, the director had a habit of casting his wife in his projects, but she was supposedly the reason that nobody was sold on the whole idea of Stepford wives representing the ultimate in male fantasies. Well, ultra-conservative male fantasies anyway.

As Joanna twigs early on, the women of this town are rather too keen on serving their husbands, to the point that they sound liike the actresses in television commercials (ironically, Newman's British fame in the eighties centred around her washing up liquid ads). Luckily, although Walter, whose idea it was to move there in the first place, is deaf to her complaints Joanna has an ally in new neighbour Bobbie Markowe, played by the great Paula Prentiss and walking away with the acting honours. These two opt to counter the local Men's Association by creating a Women's Association, but things don't quite go to plan.

At the every least, Joanna and Bobbie were expecting a gossip session, but all they get is cleaning tips from this bunch. One dissenting voice comes from Charmaine (Tina Louise), but soon she is just as vapid as the others, even allowing her husband to dig up her beloved tennis court because he has no interest in the sport. As Joanna tries to assert her independence, with her photography career beginning to take off, it seems that Stepford is determined to keep the sisters down. Yet precisely how determined Joanna is not entirely prepared for, and when she realises she finds there is no one to turn to. If you don't know what's going on I won't spoil it for you, but the film is so heavy handed there are few surprises, and only a few wry laughs at the lengths the pathetic but powerful men will go to to retain the upper hand survive. But for all that, it's a masterpiece compared to the witless and compromised remake of three decades later. Music by Michael Small.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 4151 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: