Review: Diary of a Mad Housewife
Blu-ray: Diary of a Mad Housewife (1970)
Never-before released on blu-ray in the UK, Diary of a Mad Housewife is one of those films you’ve heard about, but never got to see.
Directed by Frank Perry (The Swimmer, Trilogy, Mommie Dearest) it stars Carrie Snodgrass as Tina the ‘mad’ housewife and the whole film is interestingly and unflinchingly from her point of view.
She’s a young mother of two girls (both obnoxious and treat her like dirt) who’s married to successful lawyer Jonathan (Richard Benjamin) who also treats her – well… like his own personal slave, physically, mentally and sexually (he keeps asking her if she wants a ‘roll in the hay’ and even now it will make you cringe with sheer creepiness). He doesn’t listen to her, abuses her verbally any chance he gets and is a social climber, dragging her to parties filled with famous people who despise him.
At one of these parties she meets writer George Prager (Frank Langella – looking very young and incredibly handsome), who seduces her, then immediately begins to treat her in a similar way to her children and husband, with utter contempt. They continue their affair which ends when he becomes bored of her.
This sounds like a really negative and depressing film, and you know what? It IS from Tina’s point of view. No one gives a shit about her, yet she battles on. Most women would have had a mental breakdown.
The interesting thing about the film, and the reason it holds together and keeps your attention, is Snodgrass’s performance. Wide eyed and pretty, delicate and clever, she portrays a woman who is educated, yet trapped by patriarchy, she has so much to offer yet her sex stops her. She’s been brought up to marry well, and suffer silently.
Really worth a watch, and despite her never ending abuse at the hands of others, it does make you wonder how much things have changed since 1970?
INDICATOR LIMITED EDITION BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES
- High Definition remaster
- Original mono audio
- Long unseen alternative TV version containing unique scenes, presented in Standard Definition, as originally broadcast
- Theatrical cut audio commentary with actor Rutanya Alda and film historian Lee Gambin (2022)
- TV version audio commentary with Frank Perry biographer Justin Bozung (2022)
- Video appreciation by Academy Award-winning editor and filmmaker Chris Innis (2022)
- Original theatrical trailer
- Larry Karaszewski trailer commentary (2020)
- Radio spot
- Image gallery: promotional and publicity material
- New and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Limited edition exclusive booklet with a new essay by Paula Mejía, a profile of novelist Sue Kaufman, extracts from interviews with Frank Perry, Eleanor Perry and Carrie Snodgress, a look at Snodgress and Neil Young’s relationship, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and film credits
- UK premiere on Blu-ray
- Limited edition of 3,000 copies for the UK
Released 25th July 2022.
Review by Tina from a disc kindly supplied by Powerhouse Films.