The Stepford Wives is about a small suburb where the women happily go about their housework - cleaning, doing laundry, and cooking gourmet meals - to please their husbands. Unfortunately, Bobbie and Joanna discover that the village's wives have been replaced with robots, and Joanna's husband wants in on the action. Written by
The Fembots, which were recurring villains on both The Bionic Woman and the Six Million Dollar Man tv series, were directly influenced by the Stepford Wives. See more »
In the last scene in the supermarket "changed" Joanna does not have large breasts anymore, but the night she was "replacing" the original Joanna she had. See more »
I can't figure out this burg. It's like maids have been declared illegal, and the housewife with the neatest place gets Robert Redford for Christmas. And believe me, if that's the prize, I'd enter, but nobody'll tell what the contest rules are. Cheers!
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She is a meticulous housekeeper, flawless cook, thrifty shopper,
adoring mother, perfect wife, always well groomed, always ready to
please. But not, of course, a career woman, particularly if her success
makes her husband feel belittled. Even today, more than thirty years
after Ira Levin's bestseller startled the reading public, we are likely
to refer to such a woman as "a Stepford wife"--a creature who seems
both perfect and perfectly shallow.
The 1974 film version follows the Levin novel quite closely. Joanna
Eberhart is a beautiful young woman of the era in which the women's
moment had come of age: intelligent, forthright, and meeting her
husband on equal terms. Then she, her husband, and their children move
from New York to the small town of Stepford, where she is dismayed to
find that most of the neighboring women seem engaged in a competition
to have the neatest house, the best-groomed children, the most
satisfied husband. Joanna is relieved to find women like herself in
newcomers Bobbie and Charmaine, but even so, it seems... odd. So odd
that she begins to question her sanity.
The film works on several levels, not the least of which is the macabre
sense of humor with which director Byran Forbes endows the film: it is
often very funny in a disquieting sort of way, as when Joanna and
Bobbie's efforts to start a women's group results in a gathering of
perfectly manicured women exchanging recipes and comparing floor
polishes, or when Joanna and Bobbie accidentally overhear a Stepford
couple making love. But for all the wittiness involved, THE STEPFORD
WIVES is rooted in the women's movement of the 1970s, an era in which
"a woman's place" was hotly debated on a national level. Just what is
"a woman's place?" And to what lengths might men go to keep their women
in traditional roles? Unlike many similar films, THE STEPFORD WIVES has
tremendous restraint--and moreover a truly exceptional cast. Katherine
Ross' talents were never before or after so well used, and Paula
Prentiss gives perhaps her single most memorable performance here as
Joanna's friend Bobbie. The supporting cast is equally fine, most
particularly so with Patrick O'Neal as the unnerving "Diz" and a nice
turn by Tina Louise as Charmaine.
Ultimately, THE STEPFORD WIVES is something of a "one trick pony:" it
works best on a first viewing, when you don't know what's coming, and
on subsequent viewings the film tends to read as unnecessarily slow.
Even so, it is an interesting little cultural artifact, an "almost
classic" that is sure to give you pause the next time your better half
announces he is joining a men's club. Recommended.
Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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