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\'a husband wants in on the action.
Katharine Ross ... Joanna Eberhart
Paula Prentiss ... Bobbie Markowe
Peter Masterson ... Walter Eberhart
Nanette Newman ... Carol Van Sant
Tina Louise ... Charmaine Wimpiris
Carol Eve Rossen ... Dr. Fancher (as Carol Rossen)
William Prince ... Ike Mazzard
Carole Mallory ... Kit Sunderson
Toni Reid ... Marie Axhelm
Judith Baldwin ... Patricia Cornell
Barbara Rucker ... Mary Ann Stravros
George Coe ... Claude Axhelm
Franklin Cover ... Ed Wimpiris
Robert Fields ... Raymond Chandler
I\'m sure \'The Stepford Wives\' spoke more to the audiences of 1975 than it does to the audiences of today, but this holds its own as decent, satisfying thriller. Really little more than a variation on \'Invasion of the Body Snatchers,\' \'Stepford\' follows that film\'s structure of slowly unspooling clues and suspicions and saving its bigger \'gotcha!\' moments for the end. Katherine Ross was no doubt the star of this film, but Paula Prentiss really stood out for me. Gawky and enjoyable, she oddly predicted Geena Davis by a full generation. At one point in the film, my girlfriend commented of her wardrobe, \'Wow, can you imagine a grown woman today wearing a hot pant jumper?\' The \'70s… yikes!
I had the misfortune of both seeing the remake of \'The Stepford Wives\' before seeing the original and *actually seeing* the remake of \'The Stepford Wives.\' If the original serves any purpose, it is to expose the remake for the gutless, toothless, anemic waste of everyone\'s time that it is. God, what a terrible movie…
I\'ll admit I saw the 2004 remake which starred Nicole Kidman and Bette Midler, when it was first released in cinemas simply because I was intrigued by the good cast. I\'d never been that keen on comedy thriller but fell in love with and bought it when it came out in December.
Having heard it was a remake from a 1975 sinister thriller; which starred Katherine Ross and Paula Prentiss, and from a novel by Ira Levin – the same man who wrote the menacing Rosemary\'s Baby, I decided to give it a chance and rent in May this year.
The plot synopsis is pretty simple about a couple (Ross and Masterson) who move to the town of Stepford where a dangerous secret lies, revolving around why all the wives seem to be devoted to their husbands and are un-human-like.
From the minute we begin watching this film,. We instantly know it is a dark and sinister thriller which will haunt you throughout the movie, but is carefully hidden in the beautiful countryside of Stepford. The silent opening credits is also rather eerie.
Katherine Ross and Paula Prentiss are both excellent in their roles not to mention beautiful! Both were prefect choices for their roles, although It\'d be interesting to see Susan Sarandon playing the role of Joanna, as she was originally scheduled to play the role. The supporting cast are equally excellent, particularly from Peter Masterson, Nanette Newman, Patrick O\'Neal and Tina Louise.
The only key problem with this movie would be, from my memory, we don\'t actually learn much about how the robots work and how they\'re programmed – trivial but disappointing.
My own personal displeasure would be the ending. I won\'t spoil it but it isn\'t as satisfying as the remake, which I still like immensely, but I suppose that\'s my fault for seeing it before the original. Ira Levin is defiantly one of the best authors who can leave us with a chilling feeling that lurks for sometime after the credits have finished. Bryan Forbes was also an excellent choice to direct.
None the less it was a creepy but fun way to spend a Saturday night and I strongly recommend this as a pure date-flick or a sleepover film. Extremely underrated and I strongly suggest you watch this!!
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.
* Director Bryan Forbes claims Diane Keaton turned the role of Joanna down the night before signing her contract, because her analyst got \"bad vibes\" from the script.
* Katharine Ross had become such a good friend of Paula Prentiss during the shot, that she found the scene where she stabs \"Bobbie\" very disturbing. She actually got so anxious during takes, that director Bryan Forbes ended up shaving the back of his hand and doing the scene for her instead.
* Joanna Cassidy was cast on the role of \"Bobbie\" by producer Edgar J. Scherick and actually shot a few scenes, but was abruptly fired and replaced by Paula Prentiss, who had but recently given birth to her second child.
* Mary Stuart Masterson\'s film debut, playing the daughter of her real-life father, actor Peter Masterson.
* Early on during pre-production, Edgar J. Scherick suggested that Mary Tyler Moore and Valerie Harper could play \"Joanna Eberhart\" and \"Bobbie Markowe\" respectively. This was vetoed immediately by William Goldman who deemed it as a \"very gimmicky publicity stunt\", as both actresses were very popular at the time starring in top-rated sitcoms. The idea was dismissed before casting ever began.
* Brian De Palma was approached to direct in early 1974, due to the surprise success of his first feature, Sisters (1973); however, negotiations fell through and he ended up filming the suspense melodrama Obsession (1976) instead.
* According to screenwriter William Goldman in \"Adventures in Screen Writing\" (Ch 6), this was the only project he has been involved with that he knew was doomed even before production began. The original concept was that if men were going to murder their wives and replace them with robots, the replacements had better \"be in the form of a Playboy Bunny\". The concept was tossed when director Bryan Forbes cast his wife Nanette Newman in the film, as per contract. Newman was \"an English actress in her mid-40s. An attractive brunette and very talented, but a sex bomb she wasn\'t\". As the result of casting Newman, Forbes and Goldman had an ongoing feud and out went \"the parade of Bunnies walking through the A&P in shorts on their perfect tanned legs\" and in came the summertime wear of \"long dresses to the floor and big-brimmed hats\".
* Before Katharine Ross was cast on the leading role of Joanna Eberhart, Tuesday Weld had originally been set to play the part, but passed. Other actresses considered include Jean Seberg, Susan Sarandon, Vanessa Redgrave, Julie Christie, Jane Fonda, Jill Clayburgh, Barbara Harris, Natalie Wood, Karen Black, Janet Margolin, Blythe Danner, Geneviève Bujold, Stockard Channing, Jacqueline Bisset, Joanna Miles, Elizabeth Montgomery and Diane Keaton, who very nearly got the role.
* When the casting process began, producer Edgar J. Scherick, who had secured the rights to Ira Levin\'s novel desiring to achieve \"another Rosemary\'s Baby (1968)\", suggested Mia Farrow for the role of Joanna. The idea was quickly dropped and the actress, then living in England, was never approached.
* Author Ira Levin was originally going to write this as a stage play, until he realized there were too many characters and opted to turn it into a novel instead, which the film was based on.
* When Joanna goes to the city to show her photos at a gallery, the large black and white photo in the gallery window is of Lewis Carroll, author of Alice in Wonderland. Under his real name (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), he was a well-known Victorian photographer, especially of children.