Sunday, February 8, 2009

Blacklisting Leads to Greater Appreciation of Consumerism

Fed up with those makeover home shows on HG-TV that constantly harp on some supposed "need" to upgrade perfectly adequate kitchens and baths to have SubZero fridges, AGA stoves, Carrera marble sinks, shower surrounds and jacuzzi bathtubs along with heated towel racks? Well, check this short out for evidence that we are hardly the first generation to have mindless consumerism foisted on us by the diabolical home improvement industry.

Not only does A Word to the Wives bring us the Modern World of 1955 but it also features an early Darren McGavin role in training for the Dad in Chistmas Story, but it also includes evidence of a sadder demise. Poor Marsha Hunt, once a promising young actress, and reportedly because she spoke up at a SAG meeting out of turn, a victim of the Hollywood Blacklist, gets to play a terminally smug hausfrau with an enthusiasm that makes those Stepford Wives look like real slackers.

Hunt's overweening pride in her swell kitchen, with its automatic flour dispenser, a louvered door that allows her to spy on her guests, and even the glory of having a hot water heater in the kitchen, instills such a deep depression in her Ann Harding lookalike friend (Janet Riley) that the pair run away from home for a whole two and a half days, though, sadly, we never get to see their off-screen crime spree or their escape to a tupperware convention.

Somehow, when they return, the domestically challenged dolt that Janet married has had an epiphany that allows him to see the need for his family's home remodeling and going into an inescapable spiral of
lifelong debt, starting with the kitchen. You won't believe this movie, which in the version I saw, includes a hilarious commentary by the MST3K gang as well. The distinguished character actor Norman Lloyd is the director of this brainwashing movie, but he can be forgiven for having paid his debt to society in the years' before and since with some truly good work.


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