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The Stepford Wives
1 review

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Movie Details

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Directed By
Bryan Forbes

Written By:
Ira Levin

Katharine Ross, Paula Prentiss, Peter Masterson, Nanette Newman, Patrick O'Neal, Tina Louise, Dee Wallace Stone, William Prince, Mary Stuart Masterson, Carol Rossen

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The Stepford Wives (1975)
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Movie Review by Zombie Boy
December 21st, 2007

Total Bummer.

I had really been looking forward to finally seeing this film (it had somehow escaped my radar for years). I am a big fan of Ira Levin, and found his novel quite chilling.

Not so with the film.

Joanna Eberhart moves from Manhattan to Stepford, CT, with her husband and two small children (and their dog), mostly at the whim of her husband. She is a budding photographer, and a lightweight feminist, and largely resents the move. Shortly after their arrival, her husband takes up with the local men's association, starts acting creepy, and then brings home his new friends, whom also act totally creepy. Joanna makes friends with a yenta named Bobbie Markowe (upwardly mobile for Markovitz) and they both have a good time poking fun at the uber-wives of their both newly adopted town. Except it gets less funny as time goes on, and when Bobbie becomes an uber-wife herself, Joanna goes off the deep end.

The first problem with the film is in shifting the focus to the men for the first third of the film, so that a lot of the mystery of the story is diluted, and when the film shifts to Joanna's point of view, as it remains firmly for the entirety of the novel, you don't much care. She comes off as a whiny shrew instead of the empowered female she was meant to be. And the the final act completely shows you everything that the book purposefully kept ambiguous.

The film is well acted and well shot, but betrays the source novel's tension and mystery, is kind of boring to boot, and, ironically, does exactly what the book set out to disprove: by shifting the focus off of the female lead and onto the men, it proves its makers to be chauvinists who think that the audience couldn't possibly understand the story simply through a woman's eyes.

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Dec 21, 2007 9:53 PM
The remake with Nicole Kidman was horrible...I never saw this one.

Dec 21, 2007 10:19 PM
This isn't near the horror classic it's built up to be, but it's a million times better than the remake.

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