Professor Marston and the Wonder Women – REVIEW

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......wonder woman was not always available as she was tied up at times ( 'Rubbish! You're fired!' - Ed)

With the Christmas season almost upon us our Editor in an unfeasibly kind gesture of goodwill agreed to go out Carol Singing with some friends for charity but on the night it was only him and his friend who turned up. Unperturbed they had a couple of pints and off they went to belt out some carols and raise some money for charity and they first called at Mrs Ramsbottom’s house. She was delighted to hear the singing but as she was cooking she asked them to go round to the back of the house . She invited them in and they sang away before she offered them each a pink blancmange she had been preparing as a thank you. ‘Be careful as they’ve not set properly. They’re still a bit wobbly’, said Mrs Ramsbottom as the Editor and his friend sat down at the kitchen table. As her husband wasn’t in Mrs Ramsbottom had to get some money from her purse which she duly gave them for their charitable cause before they continued on their way. The Editor returned home later that evening after successfully raising some cash for a local charity. ‘How did it all go?’ asked the Editors wife.  ‘Well it was only me and one other man who turned up so we went to Mrs Ramsbottoms first. She invited us to go round her back door where she treated us to her wobbly pink blancmanges. She said her husband was out and she entertained us both on her kitchen table and afterwards she gave us some money.’ The Editor is once again sleeping in the spare room.

But as you can see from this ludicrous tale things are not always what they first appear to be which was certainly the case with psychologist William Marston, a University professor and a keen advocate of women’s rights. But not just women’s rights but  also threesomes and bondage and had a polyamorous relationship with his wife and a student who ended up living with them and both had children by him.

His wife, Elizabeth Marston (Rebecca Hall) was also a lecturer and was, for the 1930’s – 1940’s, a remarkably forthright person and when realising that her husband (Luke Evans) is keen for his student Olive Byrne (Bella Heathcote) to be part of their marriage talks quite openly with her about it before acceding to his wishes. Even by today’s standards it seems almost unbelievable but this is a  true story and has been a long cherished project of writer/director Angela Robinson. The hook here is that as his research moves into bondage and the three indulge in such trysts it evolves further into the basis for the origins of the comic book character Wonder Woman.

It’s a character that he develops in line with his own somewhat dubious research and was just as well because inevitably the college finds out what’s going on and all three are kicked off campus.

WonderWoman  was a character that he took to what would be DC comics and quickly became (and remains) the most famous female superhero to date though its thinly veiled themes of bondage and dominance never really went unnoticed nor did the lifestyle that the three led.

It’s a little known but interesting story and both Hall and Heathcote are very good in their roles with the film never really deciding whether the student Olive had been corrupted by her liaisons with the married couple. Though hardly graphic the film doesn’t shy away from the kinkier aspects of the Marston’s and it’s hard to believe that both women could get drawn into his fixation with bondage and harder still to understand how Wonder Woman, with such dodgy origins, has remained so popular for decades but this is one of those films where it’s almost too incredible to believe but at its heart is a love story albeit a highly unusual one.

Here’s the trailer…….

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