Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1970s Harrad Experiment, The (1973)

Harrad Experiment, The (1973)

Philip (James Whitmore) and Margaret Tenhausen (Tippi Hedren) are a learned married couple who run Harrad College as an experiment in communal living and a bastion of libertarian values.

Young people are obliged to live with each other and work out their sexual hang-ups. An initial partner for each student is chosen by the Tenhausens for their first month, then they each make their own choice.

The inhibited Harry (Bruno Kirby) is paired with aggressive Beth (Victoria Thompson) and extrovert Stanley (Don Johnson) with repressed Sheila (Laurie Walters) for their initial month. Stanley’s suggestion for an immediate swap is greeted with anger and hostility, but the Tenhausens are just demonstrating man’s tendency towards possessiveness.

As time passes, the couples begin to adjust, except Stanley whose main aim is individual possession where the others accept group relationships. His final act of rebellion is to approach Margaret Tenhausen who forces him to face his promiscuity and helps him towards a more mature attitude in his relationships.

Doubtless Hollywood felt it was being terribly grown-up – in the post-Deep Throat (1972) climate – to tackle such a story but it’s relentlessly tedious and hardly likely to raise anything more than a smile, despite some rather coy nudity and dirty dialogue.

Look closely as one of the students is played by a pre-Miami Vice Don Johnson who later married Hedren’s daughter Melanie Griffith.


Philip Tenhausen
James Whitmore
Margaret Tenhausen
Tippi Hedren
Stanley Cole
Don Johnson
Harry Schacht
Bruno Kirby
Sheila Grove
Laurie Walters
Beth Hillyer
Victoria Thompson
Elliott Street
Sharon Taggart
Sidney Bower
Robert Middleton
Billy Sands
Melody Patterson
Maggie Wellman
Ron Kolman

Ted Post