Black SplatThe Stepford Wives (1975)
   

"Joanna! How could you do a thing like that? Just when I was going to give you coffee! Just when I was going to give you coffee! Just when I was going to give you coffee!..."

The Stepford Wives - Bobby and Joanna

Description: Paula Prentiss as a robotic replicant of Bobbie Markowitz responds to being stabbed in the stomach by Joanna Eberhart (Katherine Ross) in the motion picture The Stepford Wives (1975).

Joanna Eberhart is an aspiring photographer, Her husband, Walter (Peter Masterson) is a lawyer who decides to relocate his wife and two children from New York City to Stepford Village, an exclusive community in Connecticut situated near a cluster of high-tech electronic and biochemical industries.

As Joanna acclimates to suburban life, she notices that women in town are "perfect." That is, they love to cook and clean and maintain the house impeccably. When the women meet, all they talk about are domestic issues. And they all lovingly sexually serve their husbands .

Looking for companionship, Joanna befriends Bobbie Markowitz (Paula Prentiss), a sassy newcomer to the village who suspects that maybe the local industries are dumping something in the water that is turning the women of Stepford into Mary Stewart like zombies.

"I'm also an ex-Gothamite, who's been living here in Ajax country for just over a month now, and I'm going crazy. You see doctor, my problem is that given complete freedom of choice, I don't WANT to squeeze the goddamn Charmin!" - Bobbie Markowitz

The girls decide to meet with Raymond Chandler (Robert Fields) a chemist whom Joanna dated years ago, but he finds nothing in the water that explains the behavior that Joanna and Bobby have mentioned.

Suspecting harm will come to her family, Joanna returns home and asks her husband if they can move away. He agrees, but, as a favor to him, he wants Joanna to see a psychiatrist. Joanna agrees but chooses someone from outside of Stepford Village.

Dr. Fancher (Carol Eve Rossen), the psychiatrist meets with Joanna but has a pressing engagement out of town, but she wants to continue counseling Joanna when she returns. Seeing Joanna is truly fearful, she advises her to take her kids and get out of town until she returns. But Joanna is afraid that by then it will be to late, and tells the psychiatrist:

"I won't be here when you get back, don't you see? It's going to happen before then. Don't ask me to explain it, I just know. There'll be somebody with my name, and she'll cook and clean like crazy, but she won't take pictures, and she won't be me! She'll - she'll, she'll be like one of those the robots in Disneyland." -

When Joanna returns to Stepford, Bobbie asks if Joanna can babysit her kids and dog while she and husband go away for a romantic getaway to the Plaza Hotel. Joanna gladly agrees, but when Bobbie returns, all the fun and exuberance that she once had is gone. Bobbie's formerly unkempt household is sparkling and she is now wearing makeup, aprons and cooking up a storm in the kitchen. Suspecting Bobbie has been replaced, Joanna stabs her with a knife which causes a short in the imposter’s circuitry.

The Stepford Wives - Joanna stabs the fake Bobby in the stomach

“Joanna! How could you do a thing like that? How could you do a thing like that? How could you do a thing like that? When I was just going to give you coffee! When I was just going to give you coffee! When I was just going to give you coffee! I thought we were friends! I thought we were friends! I was just going to give you coffee. I was just going to give you coffee. I thought we were friends! I thought we were friends! I thought we were friends...How could you do a thing like that? I thought we were friends”

Joanna finally realizes that the women in the community have been methodically replaced by perfectly behaved androids (gynoids) who obey the every wish of their husbands. Suddenly, the strange tasks of recording her voice patterns for a member of the Men's Associations and the detailed drawing taken of her and the other women in the community fall into place.

After leaving Bobbie, Joanna goes home to find her children and get the hell out of town, but her children have been relocated. Furious, she hits her husband in the head with a fire poker and demands to know where she can find the children. Hurt and bleeding on the floor, her husband (who has been in on the plan to duplicate his wife all along) directs her to the Men's Association mansion.

Fleeing her home, Joanna runs through the rain and enters the mansion as thunder and lightning crackle and flash outside. Upstairs, Joanna hears the voices of her children and she rushs to find them, but the voices are coming from a tape recording, controlled by Dale "Dis" Coba (Patrick O'Neal) the mastermind of the whole replication process.

Joanna runs away, only to find a room, an exact replica of her bedroom. Inside the room sits a replica of Joanna combing her hair in front of a mirror. The smiling replica then stands up and approaches the real Joanna with a nylon stocking with the intention of strangling her.

The Stepford Wives - Duplicate of Joanna and other replicas shopping

The next day we see, the new and "improved" Joanna wandering the aisles of the grocery store and greeting the other duplicates who have replaced the original Stepford wives.

Note: The film was based on the 1972 feminist science fiction novel "The Stepford Wives" by Ira Levin. The updated version of the original film starring Nicole Kidman as Joanna Eberhart was released to theaters in 2004.


Joanna: Bobbie! Bobbie... this isn't you...
Bobbie: That's right, Joanna! This isn't me, it's a whole new me. I'm happy, and I'm healthy, because I understand what's important in life.
Joanna: Yes, your new book!
Bobbie: [starts advancing on Joanna] That's right! That's what's important, my new cookbook. And my husband, and my family, and making a perfect home. It's a lesson every gal needs to learn, especially you. I'm your friend, Joanna, I'm going to help you. You need me.
Joanna: You stay away from me!
Bobbie: You are driven.
Joanna: Well, sometimes...
Bobbie: And you're selfish! You wanna rule the world! I can fix you. I can change you.
Joanna: [Bobbie's hand is resting upon the lit stove, yet she doesn't burn] What... have... they... done... to... you?
Bobbie: Let's get busy!

In 1998, a teenage version of the “Stepford Wives” entitled Disturbing Behavior chronicled a small town whose solution to rebellious teens involves the reprogramming of its teen population into polite, well-behaved zombies.


The Stepford WIves - Movie Poster

The Stepford Wives - Movie Poster


 
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