Posts Tagged ‘Ira Levin’


S3E1M – Stepford Wives (movie)*


Esteemed listener, this is our first show dedicated exclusively to a movie review so don’t freak out if you notice anything different, it will be a consistent thing from here on out, promise. The director’s bio was glossed over intentionally, he’s very prolific in England but virtually unknown stateside. My desensitized and ignorant American mind fails to grasp why an Englishman changes his name from John Clarke to Bryan Forbes. It’s like “upgrading” the paint job on your car from vanilla to light beige. Couldn’t find an explanation for that so I can only assume the surname “Forbes” implies nobility, which is forever dangled in front of the British proletariat.

To give you a tease on what you missed out on, Lord Forbes’ prolific work includes dull movie titles such as, “The Whisperers,” “The Wrong Box,” “Séance on a Wet Afternoon,” “I was Monty’s Double,” and let us never forget the imperialist and xenophobic, “Restless Natives.” These titles scream at me to be ignored. He was given the title of Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his drudging perseverance in advancing England’s brand of sedatives.

There was a bit of a debate during the podcast about which movie was superior. Ryan and Wilk thought the 1975 version was superior to the 2004 version. I gathered they liked Forbes’ movie because it brought them a sense of nostalgia for the malaise of a decade they were born in? Being born in 1977 as well, I enjoy reminiscing when “Rocky” hit the theaters. Oh, and Katherine Ross’ anorexic figure seems to get their blood up? Purism? No other reason was really given by those guys. I could not appreciate the glacial pace and the sparse script of Forbes’ version. His film tried to closely mimic the book, so it had all the suspense of rolling your grocery cart to the checkout line, or seeing “One Direction” live, lip syncing their hits. I argued the 2004 version had an excellent cast who nailed a fast and witty script. The 2004 screenplay took a more explicit angle on the underlying satire Levin conveyed in his book. This led to an enjoyable film. Also, the movie took a risk with an alternate ending that could be seen as politically incorrect which I find daring.

Speaking of “suspense,” I believe we came to a realization that we were actually reviewing a story that could legitimately and exclusively be categorized as such. Our NDIOS modus operandi is horror and sci-fi, and for this gaffe I apologize. Maybe this will open the floodgates next year to timeless boring suspense classics such as, “The Long Goodbye,” “The Fallen Idol,” and “Mystic River”? Or, if anyone in the British islands is inclined, they can do a film adaptation of a Cambridge Microbiologist’s observational dissertation describing the slow decay of his teeth. American Michael Crichton and his “Andromeda Strain” took a worthy shot, but there must be millions of zombie English courtesans out there who can top it. Let’s go blokes!

Hold onto your hats voyeurs, this season just got started! My hope is it will not continue to be like watching a sloth take his entire nap in a tree.




Film: “The Stepford Wives (2004)” by Frank Oz (Nicole Kidman)

Ryan: 2 1/2 Stars “…ultimately I think there is something missing from it”…”

Wilk: 2 1/2 Stars “…It’s the kind of movie you watch on an airplane…”

Rick: 4 Stars “…Loved it…packed full of great dialog…”

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Film: “The Stepford Wives (1975)” by Bryan Forbes (Katharine Ross)

Ryan: 3 1/2 Stars “…I did really like it…”

Wilk: 4 1/2 Stars “…If you love 70’s horror…it’s everything you want…”

Rick: 1 1/2 Stars “…it kinda put me to sleep…it just wasn’t for me…”



On the show Wilk mentioned that The Simpsons had made reference to The Stepford Wives. One such reference was in the episode “You Only Move Twice” (from:


Also on this episode Rick and Wilk made reference to the fact that director, Frank Oz, has played a police officer in two iconic comedy films: “Trading Places” and “The Blues Brothers”.

Frank_Oz Blues Brothers

(From Flicker:

(From Vine:


* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.


S3E1B – Stepford Wives (book)*


So, we read the Desperate House Wives rip-off “The Stepford Wives.” It was quite the book. Full of words, pages, more words, and some taco sauce. My sauce was mild. The book was anything but. I kept picturing Teri Hatcher as I read this book—that was so clearly inspired from her early 2000’s ABC hit television show. I’m surprised no one has sued the author for taking the characters from this TV show and basically writing fan fiction about them. However, as fan fiction goes, it is excellent.

The book was written by Ira Levin. Ira is a person, not a tax deferred account. That was the first of many twists in this book.

Two-Thirds of the hosts, including the one with the most, liked the book a lot. One of the hosts did not like it as much. No personal attacks or threats were made. So, I guess we are growing.

The general consensus was that this book had strong themes of feminism, horror, and suspense. A short and concise read, all of the hosts recommended it. So, read it already.

Later there was talk of tea and crumpets, to be followed by cheese steak and a pistol deal. No one objected to the cheese steaks. Sadly, the cheese steaks never came.

If you like tightly written suspense novels that fall into the horror and science fiction genre, this book is for you. You can watch Desperate Housewives on Amazon.




Stepford Wives (book)Ryan: 4 Stars “…A chilling tale of horror that descends into madness one step at time…

Wilk: 5 Stars “…It does not have a wasted word and it will leave you chilled days, weeks, years after you read the final horrifying page…

Rick: 3 Stars “…Every married women’s nightmare comes like a freight train chugging at 5 miles an hour…

(Click the links to read full written reviews on



Ira Levin was a playwright as well as a novelist. He had some success early on by adapting the book “No Time For Sergeants” by Mac Hyman. The play was eventually turned into a movie in 1958, which launched the career of Andy Griffith. Check out this clip featuring Andy Griffith and future co-star Don Knotts:

* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.


S3P1 – Preview Episode (Stepford Wives)*

Listen to the podcast here (click to play/right click and select “save target as” to download)



Book: “The Stepford Wives (1972)” by Ira Levin

The internationally bestselling novel by the author of A Kiss Before Dying, The Boys from Brazil, and Rosemary’s Baby With an Introduction by Peter Straub

For Joanna, her husband, Walter, and their children, the move to beautiful Stepford seems almost too good to be true. It is. For behind the town’s idyllic facade lies a terrible secret — a secret so shattering that no one who encounters it will ever be the same.

At once a masterpiece of psychological suspense and a savage commentary on a media-driven society that values the pursuit of youth and beauty at all costs, The Stepford Wives is a novel so frightening in its final implications that the title itself has earned a place in the American lexicon.” (from

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Film: “The Stepford Wives (1975)” by Bryan Forbes (Katharine Ross)

“Ira Levin’s savagely satiric sci-fi novel The Stepford Wives provided fodder for one of the biggest moneymaking films of the 1970s. Joanna (Katharine Ross) moves with husband Walter (Peter Masterson) and their children to the “ideal” suburban community of Stepford, Connecticut. Slowly (perhaps too slowly) Joanna deduces that something is amiss; most of the other housewives are vapid creatures who speak in trivialities and live only to please their husbands. Together with new friend Bobby (Paula Prentiss), she investigates this curious status quo. When Bobby also succumbs to sickly sweetness, Joanna discovers that Stepford’s husbands have conspired with male chauvinist scientists to replace all the wives with computerized android duplicates. The final closeup is a gem of compact horror and black comedy. Earning $4,000,000 domestically, The Stepford Wives opened itself up for sequel treatment, but the subsequent Stepford films were cheapjack TV movies unworthy of the original.” (from

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Film: “The Stepford Wives (2004)” by Frank Oz (Nicole Kidman)

“A woman moves from New York to the town of Stepford, a town where the women are too perfect and pliant to be real.” (from

* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.