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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Doctors' Wives (1971)

Set in the posh country club world of wealthy doctors and their pampered wives, the nymphomaniac wife (Dyan Cannon) of one of the doctors (John Colicos) announces to a group of other doctors' wives that she plans to sleep with all their husbands but she only gets to one of them before her husband shoots her dead. Her death has a domino effect on the personal lives of the surviving doctors and their wives. Trash! But it isn't even fun Harold Robbins trash, just solemn trash. The film is both lurid and silly and even exploitative in its graphic scenes of medical surgery which pads out the film between the sexcapades. Cannon is wickedly amusing in her couple of scenes before she's killed off and the fun goes with her and we're left with the likes of Richard Crenna torn between his morphine addicted wife (Janice Rule) and his black mistress (Diana Sands), Carroll O'Connor and his alcoholic wife (Cara Williams), Gene Hackman and his angry bitch of a wife (Rachel Roberts) all acting up a storm to no avail. No one is at their best here and to see such genuinely gifted actors like Hackman and Roberts reciting godawful dialogue just about kills you. I won't even go into the ridiculous subplot with a grad student (Kristina Holland) and a sex crazy intern (Anthony Costello). Even the normally reliable Elmer Bernstein furnishes a lacklustre score. Directed by George Schaefer and with Ralph Bellamy, Scott Brady, Richard Anderson, Marian McCargo and George Gaynes.

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