In my blog “Survey Results Part 2” I revealed answers submitted to a survey question that I posed in an earlier blog titled “Survey Says”. The question was “What subject would you like me to blog about next?” One of the responses suggested that I do a movie review. I explained that I don't really go to many movies these days. Actually, I have never been a big moviegoer. It’s not that I don’t enjoy movies, I do. I just don’t go to the theater to see them first run. That being said, I still wanted to honor that request and do some sort of movie review.
The Stepford Wives is a movie that was released the year that I graduated from high school. I am referring to the original from 1975. Yes I know that makes me really old. Anyways, that’s the movie I am going to discuss today.
The Stepford Wives is based on a 1972 satirical thriller novel written by Ira Levin. The story concerns Joanna Eberhart, a photographer and young mother who begins to suspect that the disturbingly submissive housewives in her new blissful Connecticut community may be robots created by their husbands. Some feel the novel is not only a parody on stereotypical American housewives, but also a study on feminism.
Basically the film depicts how 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.
Gradually, Joanna begins to realize that all of her friends have been replaced, and that she is in great danger. Her psychiatrist advices that she takes the kids and get "the hell out of Stepford", but the men are hiding Joanna's children.
I found the movie entertaining with an extremely eerie quality. Not Deliverance creepy, mind you, but freaky nonetheless. Katharine Ross turns in a strong performance as the paranoid victim. Peter Masterson portrays her husband with his real life seven-year-old daughter, Mary Stuart Masterson making her film debut as one of their children.
Other recognizable actors in the picture are Patrick O'Neal, in the role of the local men's club leader and Paula Prentiss standing out as Ross' lively best friend. Sadly, she becomes a robotic Stepford wife after a weekend "vacation."
Although The Stepford Wives may never be considered anything more than an engaging cult horror film, it has definitely left its mark. The term "Stepford Wife" is often used in popular culture, usually as a reference to a submissive and docile housewife.
Evidently the original had a strong enough following to merit a 2004 remake. The Stepford Wives II had a star-studded cast; featuring: Nicole Kidman, Matthew Broderick, Bette Midler, Christopher Walken, Faith Hill, Glenn Close and Jon Lovitz. Even Larry King had a cameo.
Despite this prolific group of thespians, Stepford Wives II was a flop. Even though the original film and book had a tremendous cultural impact, the remake was marked by behind-the-scenes infighting, was dismissed by critics and lost approximately $40M at the box office.
Before I wrap up my first attempt at a movie review, I wanted to pitch an idea that came into my head while writing it. Well, to be honest with you, the current political scene gave me the idea. Hell, full disclosure. The current political scene spurred the entire blog.
Here is my brainchild for Stepford Wives III –
Not wanting to be too political, I will leave it to my readers to come up with the name for this version. I do have a few suggestions. How about The Anti-Stepford Wives or The Stepford Wives Rule America? Until next time…from the booth.