22 April 2009 | phantom_tollbooth
Caught between a feminist tract and a validation of conservative family values
Robert McKimson's 'Wild Wife' is a curious entry in the series of domestic cartoons which were popular in the 50s and 60s. More akin to a sitcom than a classic Warner cartoon, 'Wild Wife' stars an entirely human cast as a chauvinistic husband questions how his wife could possibly have failed to mow the lawn when she has so much time on her hands. This triggers a flashback which forms the basis of the cartoon as the wife (sardonically played to perfection by Bea Benederet) recounts the events of her day. Ostensibly a pro-woman cartoon that implores men not to take their wives for granted, 'Wild Wife' still makes room for plenty of sexist stereotypes with gags about obsessive shopping, chocolate addiction and parallel parking. Still, it's an enjoyably down-to-earth short with several neat little observations about everyday life in the 50s. There's nothing uproarious here but the face remains largely fixed in a smile, even if its sometime provoked by some of the outdated attitudes. Caught between a feminist tract and a validation of conservative family values, 'Wild Wife' is an interesting glimpse at the past and an entertaining one to boot.