Synopsis by Craig Butler
In The Harrad Experiment, young men and women attend Harrad College for what is essentially a one-year "control group" trial in pre-marital sex, to be overseen by Prof. Philip Tenhausen (James Whitmore) and his wife, Margaret (Tippi Hedren). Although initially paired off for the first month, they will be free to change partners once a month if they so desire. The film focuses on two couples, the somewhat shy Sheila (Laurie Walters), who is paired with the rich and swaggering Stanley (Don Johnson), and alluring Beth (Victoria Thompson), whose roomie is the awkward Harry (Bruno Kirby). The two couples don't get off to a good start, as Stanley is disappointed in his partner and Harry intimidated by his. There's a great deal of tension as the partners consider whether they have been paired off appropriately, and the jealousy and discomfort they feel comes to the surface in an improvisational exercise overseen by Philip. Whether this is all a result of mismatched pairs or more a result of Stanley's inability to "feel" is the subject of some debate, and leads to a number of confrontations and scenes (not to mention nude yoga classes and discussions of group marriage). Stanley also attempts to interest Margaret in having sex with him, but when she suggests that they do so freely and openly on the lawn, he can't go through with it. Stanley decides he wants to leave Harrad, but at the last minute changes his mind and joins Sheila, Beth and Harry for a group hug. Based upon Robert Rimmer's best-seller, Harrad was followed by a sequel, The Harrad Summer.
college, experiment, friendship, Ivy-League, romance, school, sex, sexuality