The Secret Life of an American Wife

Basically, as Axelrod has pointed out, the feminine angle on The Seven Year Itch (which he also scripted, from his own play): a charmingly immoral little morality play about a suburban housewife, apprehensive about her declining desirability, who nervously hires herself out for the afternoon as a callgirl in order to test the response. Jackson's excellent performance is matched by Matthau's as her client, an ageing Hollywood star sagging in all directions, and too riddled with hangover, sinus and self-pity to maintain his image as a sex symbol. The 25-minute bedroom sequence in which the pair gradually strip away their protective shells and pretences is funnier and more touching than anything Neil Simon ever dreamed up. Axelrod makes his mistakes here and there, but never resorts to the snide sniggers with which Wilder disfigured The Seven Year Itch.

Release details

Duration: 92 mins

Cast and crew

Director: George Axelrod
Screenwriter: George Axelrod
Cast: Walter Matthau
Anne Jackson
Patrick O'Neal
Edy Williams
Richard Bull
Paul Napier
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