Classic Cinema Spotlight: The Stepford Wives

by - July 22, 2014

a vintage nerd

1970's horror/thriller films were truly creepy. I find it to be a mix of a no holds barred approach to film making as well as the coloring used when filming. I find 1970's films to always be sort of grainy but I love that most likely because I grew up with it.

Katherine Ross was a popular actress in the 1960's and 1970's and starred in the film version of The Stepford Wives (1975). It was based on 1972 novel of the same name by Ira Levin. There are loads of copies of that book via Amazon and Ebay. I think I'd like to read it and compare it to the film.

It begins with a close up (photo below) of Ross who plays Joanna Eberhart, a young wife and mother who is an inspiring photographer. You can see right away that Joanna is not fully happy about moving out of Manhattan into a small town named Stepford in Connecticut.

She soon finds herself lonely but eventually befriends another newcomer named Bobbie (Paula Prentiss). Joanna and Bobbie meet more of the women in the town and find their attitudes on cleaning and housework go above and beyond the call of duty and it peaks their interests.

When one of the wives they know goes from being a tennis playing trophy wife into a industrious, devoted wife overnight, Joanna and Bobbie know something very wrong is happening to the women in Stepford.

The Stepford Wives
The Stepford Wives
The Stepford Wives
The Stepford Wives

The creep factor in this film is high. I find every time I watch it I begin to cringe with how easily the husbands of this town embraced murder and false images of their former wives. How easily their uniqueness and individuality that made them special was tossed aside so they can have a ethereal, dedicated, and obedient wife. Phew! Gives me the chills!

If you like thrillers with a combination of mystery and sexism, then you really need to watch this film. I never saw the remake and although I like the actors in it, I heard the film was recreated to be more like a comedy instead of a horror/thriller. For now, I will pass on that.

Have you seen this film? Or read the book? If you did, did the ending freak you out as much as it did me (which was a lot!)? Did you ever hear of the Stepford Wives Community? Let me know what you think of it. The link is HERE.


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