Film (1974). Fadsin Cinema Associates/Columbia. Directed by Bryan Forbes. Written by William Goldman, based on The Stepford Wives (1972) by Ira Levin. Cast includes Peter Masterson, Nanette Newman, Patrick O'Neal, Paula Prentiss and Katharine Ross. 115 minutes. Colour.
In this black but rather crude Satire on the role of women in US society, the men of Stepford, a sleepy, attractive Connecticut town, take part in a bizarre conspiracy – devised by an ex-employee of Disney World and in due course discovered by a newly arrived wife (Ross) – to replace their wives with biddable, contented Robot duplicates. The finale shows the robot wives of Stepford drifting like the living dead around a vast supermarket and swapping recipes. Despite stodgy direction, this is an above-average Paranoia movie, comparable in theme if not in charisma with Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) – not least because of Prentiss's lively performance. Though the film's Feminism is superficial, it is astonishing that it was attacked as antifeminist. Made-for-tv sequels were Revenge of the Stepford Wives (1980), 100 minutes, directed by Robert Fuest, and The Stepford Children (1987), 104 minutes, directed by Alan J Levi. [PN/JB]
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