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Diary of a Mad Housewife (1970)

A housewife with an abusive husband has an affair with a writer.

Director:

Writers:

(novel),
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
George Prager
...
Lorraine Cullen ...
Sylvie Balser
Frannie Michel ...
Liz Balser
Lee Addoms ...
Mrs. Prinz
Peter Dohanos ...
Samuel Keefer
Katherine Meskill ...
Charlotte Rady
Leonard Elliott ...
M. Henri
Valma ...
Margo
Hilda Haynes ...
Lottie
Donald Symington ...
Pediatrician (as Don Symington)
...
Women's lib girl (as Allison Mills)
...
Himself (as The Alice Cooper Band)
Neal Smith ...
Himself (as The Alice Cooper Band)
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Storyline

Tina Balser is a bored New York housewife-mother married to Jonathan, a pompous, social-climbing lawyer who ridicules her in front of their children, criticizing everything she does or wears. She begins an affair with George Prager, a dashing, successful and blatantly sadistic writer. Finally after George has tormented Tina in much the same manner Jonathan has, and has been unfaithful to boot, she goes back to her husband and begins group therapy. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Does her anger at a domineering husband justify a wife's taking a lover? This wife was driven to find out. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 August 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Diario de una esposa desesperada  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (original)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Neil Young song "A Man Needs a Maid" was inspired by Carrie Snodgress' performance in the film. Interestingly, a few months later the pair met and eventually became lovers. See more »

Quotes

George Prager: Well what about it, you coming over?
Tina Balser: I um - I have to go to a committee meeting at my daughter's school. As a matter of fact I just on the way out the door.
George Prager: Tomorrow? Wait, tomorrow's Saturday. Monday?
Tina Balser: Monday I promised Jonathon I'd go down and pick our Christmas cards for this year.
George Prager: [exhales annoyed] Your life really is full of crap isn't it?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Searching for Debra Winger (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Ride With Me Baby
(uncredited)
Written by Mars Bonfire
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Glimpse of a New York of not so long ago that now exists only in memory
5 November 1998 | by See all my reviews

This highly entertaining and memorable film provides a glimpse into a New York of not so long ago that now exists only in memory. But Diary of a Mad Housewife ultimately succeeds on the strength of its actors, particularly Snodgress, who plays a Smith graduate-turned prisoner of a Central Park West apartment inhabited by her overbearing, pitifully ambitious husband and spoiled daughters. Her performance is somehow flat and anemic but compelling at the same time--a combination that seems to have been consciously emulated by Chloe Sevigny in The Last Days of Disco.

Bejamin is perfectly cast as the insufferable husband, adenoidally petulant and demanding. When Snodgress's patience is finally exhausted, she takes up with Langella, a glowering animal presence as a bad-boy writer whose selfishness, it turns out, rivals and even exceeds Benjamin's.

The husband and wife represent two people whose lack of use for their education has led them astray: Snodgress finds herself in a state of frustration with the humiliations of her housewifely duties, and Benjamin, unappreciated in his office, comes up with ill-fated schemes for self-expression and social advancement.

All in all, the film brings The Feminine Mystique to life in unexpectedly original and diverting ways.


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