July 31, 1978 12:00 PM

The early box office success of this film is mystifying since it was based on a silly 10-year-old hit song, includes no real names and relies on a clunk-on-the-head sort of subtlety. Barbara Eden (TV’s old Jeannie) plays the miniskirted mom who confronts a stuffy PTA and in the process exposes the vices—gambling, drunkenness and promiscuity, for starters—of Harper Valley (effectively evoked by Lebanon, Ohio). The markedly professional supporting cast includes Nanette Fabray, Pat Paulsen, Louis Nye, Ronny Cox and, as Eden’s daughter, Susan (Audrey Rose) Swift. But the main point is plain old institution-baiting. This is the Proposition 13 of movies. (PG)

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