Wednesday, 27 June 2012
Straight to video... Doctors' Wives (1971)
Some of these tapes go back a long way and have, in some cases, never been played ...almost forgotten. Time to clear up and clear out but…maybe, just maybe there’s something in here worth watching and possibly worth saving.
So… I set up the video plugged into the back of the DVD and started to copy a few possible gems onto the hard drive for review “at a later date”…that date normally never comes but a high pollen count left me sneezing and weary… in need of something undemanding to watch…
We see them at first segregated in two groups at a social club, the men cigar smoking and discussing business and the women casually playing cards whilst talking about infidelity.
Lorrie Dellman, played by Dyan Cannon, is the alpha female and most challenging of the group, then there’s the smart one (Janice Rule), the drunk one (Cara Williams), the up-tight one (Marian McCargo) and the welsh one (an excellent Rachel Roberts).
Lorrie suggests that she should sleep with al of their husbands in order to let them know where they’re going wrong, “don’t worry, “ she says to their varying astonishment and disgust, “I’ve already got about half way…” This puts the cats amongst the roosters and each couple starts to re-examine the nature of their relationships, their trust, their love and not just their sex lives.
Whilst this early homicide is a waste of the talented Dyan Cannon it does serve to up the dramatic pace as the lover in question almost dies and has to be saved by some highly-graphic surgery and an alert staff nurse (the excellent Diana Sands) who just happens to be having an affair with the doctor doing the saving... Dr Brennan (Richard Crenna) husband of the smart one.
It is good - ridiculous - fun and there are some excellent performances especially from Rachel Roberts who’s confession of a one night stand with the voracious and experimental Lorrie is quite the best bit of acting in the film followed by Gene Hackman’s astonished response with a rolled up newspaper.
This couple are bought together by the revelations that follow in Lorrie’s death yet others are pushed apart but all come to make honest re-appraisals of their lives.
This very professional film has the feel of a 70s US TV film – with lots of familiar faces - but the subject matter and the odd smattering of nudity, combined with some unflinching shots of in-surgery operations, elevate it to a more cinematic level.
I watched this on TV a long time ago with my folks…some of the scenes would have been uncomfortable viewing for the teenage me. Now it’s very much a period piece and very much worth saving from the video box unlike the 30 or so sent for recycling…