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At Harrad College, where controversial coed living situations are established, the students are forced to confront their sexuality in ways that society previously shunned. Part of the experiment is to pair incompatible members of the opposite sex as roommates in order to make them shun the traditional concept of monogamy. The film's primary two "couples" are the sex-crazed Stanley and ultra-timid Sheila, and insecure Harry and liberated Beth. In charge of the "experiment" are Prof. Philip Tenhausen and his wife, Margaret, who seem to enjoy the tension they instigate, as well as the graphic sexual episodes that unfold. Written by
alfiehitchie & tipsyheadrinse
Sheila: Do you like a girl who makes it right away. Stanley: Yeah if I'm the guy.
The "Harrad Experiment", which is based on the 1960's free love novel by Robert H. Rimmer, starts out with Sheila, Laurie Walters, arriving at Harrad Collage. Later as all the students are paired off in the main collage auditorium by the collage founder and dean Dr. Philip Tenhausen ,James Whitmore, Shelia is alone in her dorm waiting for the boy she's to share her room with.
Sheila who's very introverted and shy and as it turns out later, to one one's surprise who's watching the movie, a virgin is the only one in the collage who's partner hasn't shown up making Sheila feel even more insecure. Later that night Shelia's partner Stanley, Don Johnson,picked by the collage, through a battery of tests and interviews, arrives in her dorm room. Stanley to her surprise turns out to be the exact opposite of Sheila! Outgoing non-inhibited about sex and having what turned out to be later in the movie a roving eye for every girl and woman on the campus.
During the course of the film we see Sheila coming more and more out of her shell and learning to have a lasting relationship with Stanley. Even though Stanley cheats on her and breaks her heart a number of times. The carousing Stanly at one point of the movie had Sheila so hurt and despondent over his infidelities that I thought that she would kill herself.
During the course of the movie both Shelia and Stanley learn the hard way that when it comes to living together with someone you have to accept the bad as well as the good to make it work. Stanley to his credit sadly finds out that playing the field, when it comes to relations with the opposite sex, without any commitments is not what he thought it would be. He soon realizes that it's far better to have a life long and lasting relationship with someone who loves you as much if not more then you love them then changing partners as often as you change your socks.
Far better then what most critics wrote about the movie the "Harrad Experiment" is not anywhere as wild and unfeeling as they say it is. The sex and nude scenes are very tastefully done and there is genuine feelings in the relationships between the couples involved in the film: Sheila and Stanley an also Harry, Bruno Kirby, and Beth, Victoria Tompson. There's not the uncontrollable lust between the couples like you would have imagine by reading many of the reviews about the movie. In fact in one of the scenes when Stanley and Sheila are in a diner a costumer Sidney Bower, Robert Middleton, who overhears that Sheila is a student at Harrad Collage tries to pick her up. Sidney must have thought,like many reviews of the film would make readers and viewer believe, that girls attending that collage are loose and easy and would think nothing of propositioning them without getting slapped in the face! Maybe Sidney read one of those reviews.
The scenes between Sheila and Stanley are emotionally and heart-fully done and are so touching in some cases that they bring the audience almost to tears as well as those very emotional scenes between Harry and Beth.
A postscript to the movie "Harrad Experiment". Don Johnson met his future wife in the movie Melanie Griffith, who was an extra in the film. Melanie is also the daughter of Tippi Hedren who played Margaret Tenhausen the wife of the founder of Harrad Collage Philip Tenhausen.
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