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Stepford Wives

Stepford Wives remakeLast night after a hot day in which Maureen went off to yoga and I spent the day working on my tech blog,so then not unusually, Maureen and I took two of our cats out for a walk (one chickened out and went back home alone as he often does) and on our way back, we bumped into a couple of Scottish friends, made arrangements for later in the week then took yet another pair of friends back to our cave for a chat.

That led to a late night as is often the case and when they left, instead of going off to bed as might’ve made sense, we started scouring Netflix, Amazon and ShowBox for something to watch – no joy, nothing even remotely interesting.

I don’t know what started me off but I went looking in desperation for the movie “Stepford Wives” and this appeared in a date order search through ShowBox. It didn’t take me long to realise that something was wrong.

The original movie was dark, this was lightweight and utterly boring. And to think that Microsoft actually try to sell this rubbish “This” was of course the badly-done 2004 remake of the original and a pile of festering poo which stars Nicole Kidman, Bette Midler, Christopher Walken, Glenn Close, Faith Hill, Matthew Broderick and other good to great stars yet STILL failed back in 2004 and fails now to entertain.

The original movie, staggeringly dates back to 1975 and is not as far as I can tell available on the regular streaming channels for reasons beyond me.

Anyway, a bit of digging and I found various copies of the original movie on YouTube, none of which were staggering quality but they worked, one in particular was quite usable. So we sat and watched Katherine Ross and others who’s names mean little to me just as they did back in ‘75, doing their stuff. By the look of it, low budget and of course they had no CGI but the movie achieved what it set out to do, very well. I imagine at the time it struck a cord with the changing roles of men and women in the USA more than elsewhere but I still found it fascinating. The lead player had moved into Stepford with her husband and more and more of the friends she’d made were becoming increasingly boring and compliant at home.

Probably more in the minds of American advertising executives than real people, women leading up to that time were there to look after their home and their man but this was all changing and the men in the fictional town of Stepford were up to here with assertive women and decided to do something about it. Over time, the entire town filled with automated, content, compliant replicas of the womenfolk – I’ll not spoil this any further for anyone who cares to check.

Stepford WivesI’m still finding it hard to believe that I was only 21 when this movie came out and yet I remembered most of the detail. More’s the point, somehow despite loving the original movie, I remained blissfully unaware of the various follow-up TV shows until now. And to think I missed the TV spinoffs, though given the state of the remake, probably for the better.

All of this started from a 1972 novel by Ira Levin – at a time when automated walking, talking robots were utterly impossible and Dolly the sheep had not even been thought of, yet here we had a near indestructible, domesticated female robot portrayed on film, happy to be nothing other than a proud housewife and utterly oblivious to being knifed by  other than to get stuck in a loop.

There will of course be people looking in who’ve never heard of either the movies or TV spin-offs, but I’m pretty sure the term “Stepford Wife” is still in common use, usually not the nicest thing to say to someone.

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