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KATHARINE ROSS IN 'THE STEPFORD WIVES' W/ NANETTE NEWMAN

year: 1975 cast: Katharine Ross, Paula Prentiss, Nanette Newman (above), Tina Louise rating: ***
THE STEPFORD WIVES isn’t much different from another Ira Levin adaptation, ROSEMARY’S BABY. Only you turn a struggling actor’s naïve wife into a savvy feminist-leaning photographer married to a contented lawyer, both ditching city life for a quaint Connecticut town called Stepford.

Like Mia Farrow’s Rosemary, Katharine Ross is a natural beauty and, as Joanna Eberhart, she gets lost in a mysterious predicament –  but she catches on pretty quick. Unlike Rosemary, Joanna already has two kids and her life pretty much mapped out… Actually, her stale, plain-looking husband Walter has done that already…
Katharine Ross takes one more shot at city life... Ironically it's of a man carrying a female mannequin
Within minutes upon entering the pearly Stepford gates, our heroine has doubts about this rural location, especially after realizing how strange the residents are. And that’s the first of several problems…

The supposed perfection of the community is hindered within the first ten minutes after Walter meets the most surreal wife of the lot – the rabbit of this Pollyanna/Wonderland. Nanette Newman as Carol Van Sant, with ghostly hollowed eyes and steely countenance, both steals and epitomizes the movie and its ironic theme...
An overworking Paula Prentiss facing a wet and wounded Katharine Ross
To counterbalance the kitchen-set wives, all seeming straight out of a detergent ad, is intentional "scene-stealer" Paula Prentiss as Joanna’s sidekick, Bobbie, a cool, down-to-earth smart aleck providing bubbly and downright forced insight and exposition. Sadly, she gives Joanna, who should have had more of a roguish desperation throughout, a much too cushy safety net. In her own way, like the conservative Stepford Wives, her spunk and liberalism is just too perfect (and she's never established with a husband... sometimes it's like she's Joanna's helpful hallucination... or a reverse android to make our heroine feel she's not alone).

The best scenes occur within the introduction of the housewives. Although they’re quite similar, each is unique and gorgeous in their own way, married to dull, plain looking husbands, part of a makeshift Men’s Club that doesn’t allow women...
Ross with Mary Stuart Masterson, real life daughter of Peter Masterson, who plays Katherine's husband
This sparks subtle outrage within Joanna and, at the point where she investigates possible reasons for the town’s strange behavior, the film seems like it’s rushing for a conclusion, albeit a predictable (and at this point, famously iconic) one…

The Noirish nighttime climax, when Joanna finally invades the “hornet’s nest,” is fitfully spooky, reminiscent of THE TWILIGHT ZONE. But it's the eerie epilogue – as each lady strolls through a bright lit supermarket – that truly defines THE STEPFORD WIVES: perhaps more time should have been spent there.
"She cooks as good as she looks, Ted," about Nanette Newman in The Stepford Wives
"Bye mom... I hate this town... It's not any kind of wonderful... Thanks a bunch."
"Why wasn't I cast as the leading lady?" Carole Mallory in The Stepford Wives
Nanette Newman breaks down, again, w/ Carole Mallory and Woody Allen's longtime stand-in
"In ten years time, this pout will become my signature."
"I'll just be gone for a little while... They say it's only a three hour tour."
Nanette Newman as Carol Van Sant in THE STEPFORD WIVES Nanette Newman The Stepford Wives
Nanette Newman in THE STEPFORD WIVES "I'll have to get the recipe for that"
Katharine Ross in THE STEPFORD WIVES Katharine Ross The Stepford Wives
Katharine Ross, Paula Prentiss more than more than catching on to Nanette Newman The Stepford Wives
And one of our favs, Dee Wallace as Nettie The Maid The Stepford Wives Dee Wallace
Tina Louise after her alteration in The Stepford Wives Tina Louise The Stepford Wives
The picture head villain Patrick O'Neal had William Prince make of Tina Louise's Stepford Wife
Katharine Ross looking like a pose in The Stepford Wives Katherine Ross
Speaking of pose, here we get the artist's sketching established which makes sense at the end
Tina Louise, Katharine Ross and Paula Prentiss watch Franklin Cover in The Stepford Wives
The iconic supermarket Stepford Wives scene w/ Katharine Ross and a blurry Paula Prentiss
Opening credit sequence with a fancy title for THE STEPFORD WIVES reviewed by James M. Tate at Cult Film Freak
Nanette Newman in THE STEPFORD WIVES
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