22 December 2014

The Stepford Wives (1975)
115 min.
Directed by Bryan Forbes.
With Katharine Ross, Paula Prentiss, Peter Masterson, Nanette Newman, Patrick O'Neal, Tina Louise, Dee Wallace, William Prince.
Another fine film adaptation of an Ira Levin novel (Rosemary's Baby is another).

Katharine Ross plays Joanna Eberhart, an artist who moves from Manhattan to the quiet hamlet of Stepford, Connecticut along with her husband Walter (Masterson).

But soon, Joanna begins to realize that the local women about town are not quite themselves...The housewives of Stepford seem detached, emotionless, and way too content merely to serve their husbands' every whim and desire.

Is it possible it's all in Joanna's urbane, too-liberated mind? No, that can't be. For her new friend Bobbie Markowe (Prentiss) feels the strangeness too.

Can it be? Have the lovelies of Stepford really been replaced by exact robot duplicates, mindless automatons who live only to do their husbands' bidding?

And where are their human originals?

Ross is terrific, and so is Paula Prentiss as her sassy neighbor who discovers the secret with her. Slow and dreamlike, with a chilling conclusion that will send chills up your spine.

Very much a film of its time, with a potent feminist message.

Followed by Revenge of the Stepford Wives (1980) and then The Stepford Children (1987).

Remade in 2004.

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