The Secret Life Of An American Wife

  • 1968
  • Movie
  • R
  • Comedy

Whenever George Axelrod writes a screenplay, it somehow looks as though it were a play that he couldn't get produced so he adapted it for film. Such is the case again here. Jackson is the 34-year-old wife of O'Neal, a New York press agent (she was actually about 42 when she played this role). He says something about the fact that she could never have been...read more

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Whenever George Axelrod writes a screenplay, it somehow looks as though it were a play that he couldn't get produced so he adapted it for film. Such is the case again here. Jackson is the 34-year-old wife of O'Neal, a New York press agent (she was actually about 42 when she played this

role). He says something about the fact that she could never have been a successful hooker, which she resents. One of O'Neal's jobs is to arrange sexual favors for his major client, movie star Matthau, at a hundred bucks per. Jackson believes that she may have lost her appeal when a delivery boy

fails to notice that she is totally nude. Jackson is determined to change matters, so she downs a few brandies, screws up her courage, calls Matthau, who is in town from Hollywood, and says that she's a call girl. When she arrives at his hotel, Jackson sees that the "Great Lover" of the screen is

not that at all. He's lonely, succumbs to attacks of sinusitis, and just needs someone to be his pal. Jackson is slightly miffed that Matthau prefers her company to any hanky-panky, but she eventually enjoys listening to Matthau's tales of woe. They tell each other their deepest secrets; Matthau

admits that his prowess is largely a matter of public relations rather than intimate ones. Jackson and Matthau finally make love, then O'Neal arrives at the hotel and calls upstairs to Matthau's suite. He enters the suite as Jackson hides in the other room, and he decides that he cannot be a

lackey any longer and punches Matthau in the snoot, then leaves. Jackson emerges from the bedroom, puts a cold compress on Matthau's nose, and is about to leave for her Connecticut home when Matthau gives her $100 for cab fare. She brightens up as she realizes she's fulfilled her ambitions and can

now return to domestic tranquility. It's an immoral story but made somewhat palatable by Jackson's plight and her desire to be desirable. Edy Williams, the one-time wife of Russ Meyer, plays the sexy girl who walks in and out of the fantasies of Jackson as she relates her problems directly to the

camera in a very stagy fashion. The same subject matter is handled better and with more taste in BELLE DU JOUR, with Catherine Deneuve starring as a married woman who spends her afternoons working in a brothel. A good idea that goes somewhat awry because the author-producer-director couldn't make

up his mind if he was doing a French farce or a British satire.

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  • Rating: R
  • Review: Whenever George Axelrod writes a screenplay, it somehow looks as though it were a play that he couldn't get produced so he adapted it for film. Such is the case again here. Jackson is the 34-year-old wife of O'Neal, a New York press agent (she was actually… (more)

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