From the March on Washington and discussions of pay inequality to the #MeToo movement, women’s issues are hot topics of national debate.
Just as they were in the “women’s lib” days of 1975.
That year, “The Stepford Wives” — Ira Levin’s satirical novel about suburban men and their fawning, zombie-like, beautiful and big-breasted wives — was released as a full-length film.
Though Levin said he based the book on Wilton — where he’d lived in the 1960s — the movie was shot largely in Westport.
And most Americans made little distinction between the 2 towns. “Stepford Wife” quickly became national shorthand for the vapid, monotonous lives of suburban housewives — and the shallow regard they’re held in by the men who marry them.
It still is.
Alert “06880” reader Billy Nistico unearthed a 2001 documentary on the making of “The Stepford Wives.” It focuses largely on the screenplay and casting, but shows a few scenes from the film — including one near the train station — plus interviews.
Director Bryan Forbes recalls that he and his wife — actress Nanette Newman — rented a house in Westport for nearly a year. Their children went to local schools; their daughter graduated from Staples High.
“I enjoyed it,” he said of his time in Westport. He chose to film here for our “white picket fences and manicured lawns.” All scenes were real; no sets were built.
Others in the documentary recall renting houses near each other, eating outdoors together, and enjoying the suburban life their film was about to skewer.
And, Forbes notes, the film was not anti-female. It was actually anti-male.
“Anyone who wants to change his wife by enlarging her breasts” is someone of the lowest order, he explains.
Click below, to see the 2001 documentary called “The Stepford Life.” Discussion of Westport begins around the 12:00 mark.