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There’s sex, bondage and Wonder Woman’s incredible origin in ‘Professor Marston’

By in Press Enterprise on October 10, 2017

By Bob Strauss

So great, that “Wonder Woman” movie. Second biggest box-office hit of the year, biggest film ever directed by a woman, empowering all around.

Did you know, though, how the third most enduring comic book superhero came to be? It’s an exhilarating story, too, but much more complicated than most people probably know.

Now writer-director Angela Robinson’s “Professor Marston and the Wonder Women” tells that incredible tale. The film stars British actors Luke Evans (“Furious 7,” “Beauty and the Beast”) and Rebecca Hall (“The Town,” “The Prestige”) as the psychologist, educator and inventor William Moulton Marston and his wife and co-developer of the lie detector test Elizabeth, and Australian Bella Heathcote (“Fifty Shades Darker,” “The Man in the High Castle”) as his student turned both Marstons’ lover Olive Byrne.

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(l-r.) Rebecca Hall stars as Elizabeth Marston, Luke Evans as Dr. William Marston and Bella Heathcote as Olive Byrne in PROFESSOR MARSTON AND THE WONDER WOMEN, an Annapurna Pictures release.
Credit: Claire Folger / Annapurna Pictures

Already sexual pioneers in the Ivy League environs of the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s, the Marstons and Byrne were also as dedicated to feminism as they were to one another (Byrne was, respectively, the daughter and niece of birth control advocates Ethel Byrne and Margaret Sanger). They later discovered bondage, which dovetailed nicely with William’s DISC theory, that all human interactions were governed by some combination of dominance, inducement, submission and compliance. He fathered children by both women, and they lived together most of the time up until his 1947 death. Elizabeth and Olive remained domestic partners for 38 years after that.

While they endeavored to keep their polyamorous relationship on the down-low, the Marstons’ academic careers were ruined by it. Desperate to make some money (he apparently didn’t patent the lie detector) and inspired by the loving, brave and […]    

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