Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Stepford Wives
The Stepford Wives is a 1972 novel by Ira Levin, the author of Rosemary's Baby, A Kiss Before Dying, Deathtrap, and The Boys from Brazil. A movie based on the book was released in 1975, with a remake of the film released in June 2004.
The premise involves a group of men from the fictional town of Stepford, Connecticut who all seem to have eager-to-please, overly submissive, impossibly beautiful wives. Joanne Eberhart, the main character, arrives in Stepford from New York City with her husband and children, eager to start a new life. As time goes on, she becomes increasingly puzzled by the zombie-like Stepford wives, especially when she begins to see her once independent-minded friends turn into mindless, docile housewives overnight.
By the end of the story, Joanne becomes convinced the wives of Stepford are actually look-alike gynoids created by an elite group of men. The book ends before she can find the truth.
In 1975 the book was adapted into a feminist-era science fiction thriller directed by Bryan Forbes with a screenplay by William Goldman and starring Katharine Ross, Paula Prentiss, Peter Masterson and Tina Louise. The film also marked the screen debut of brat pack actress Mary Stuart Masterson. The script emphasis is on gender conflict, and the science fiction elements are never adequately explained, existing only to create the premise.
There was a made-for-TV sequel in 1980 entitled Revenge of the Stepford Wives. It was critically panned for poor acting and shallow writing. In this film, instead of being androids, the wives take pills that keep them hypnotized.
An updated version of The Stepford Wives was released in North America on June 11, 2004, featuring replaced Stepford husbands as well as wives. This film, directed by Frank Oz with a screenplay by Paul Rudnick , stars Nicole Kidman, Bette Midler, Matthew Broderick, Christopher Walken, Faith Hill, Glenn Close and Jon Lovitz.
Both the 1975 and 2004 versions of the movie were filmed in Darien, Connecticut.
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