Day 16 of 31
Director : Roman Polanski
Writer : Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
Starring : Mia Farrow John Cassavetes Ruth Gordon Sidney Blackmer Maurice Evans Ralph Bellamy Angela Dorian. USA. 2h 36m
A deep tale of Satanism and pregnancy which is actually from frightening than the components, filled with cautionary tales delivered by powerful performances from Mia Farrow and Ruth Gordon.
In Roman Polanski’s first american film adapted from Ira Levin’s best seller see’s a young vulnerable woman sold down the river by her lover and the Satanic community in her new apartment block. The dank old building is famed for having an equally aged community which the young couple struggle to blend in. Immediately after moving in two noesy neighbors Roman and Minnie Castevet (Sidney Blackmer and Ruth Gordon) invite themselves in and after protesting eventually Guy seems to warm to them after their intervention revitalizes his failing acting career, but at what cost? Rosemary potters around trying to make sense of her new surroundings, she befriends a fellow young girl who soon commits suicide and begins losing touch with her husband who is now best friends with the Castevet’s and whose temper gets shorter and shorter with his wife, until one fateful night when everything changes, Rosemary is unknowingly offered as a sacrifice of some sorts.
One of the more terrifying aspects of the movie is how Polanski allows the story to slowly emerge but once the audience has just enough information he suspends the film on this awkward edge while Rosemary’s deteriorates before us both physically and mentally in a tragic and blinding performance that sees the young vibrant woman slowly decline into a meager frightened skeleton.
Filmed almost entirely inside the apartment block, there are very few excursions, and they almost always end in horror, the community that exists within the building is tight knit and it feels as if the building itself is an entity, like the episode of Tales from the Darkside episode A New Lease of Life, but the whole idea of new beginning is rife throughout the film, the new move to an apartment the change in appearance to the iconic Mia Farrow swinging 60’s look.
The original novel moved away from the heavy ritualistic narratives and saviour occultist to dash in the save the day, and the film honours this which makes things way more terrifying, not only does the timid girl have to work out what’s going on using her quick wit and curious nature, to piece together clues including some bizarre anagrams and tries to avoid the tricks of the cult and stay one step ahead and all on her own. The isolation of Rosemary becomes quite overpowering and the crowing performance goes to Mia who is a constant focal point and while her character is small her presence is huge on screen, especially that final gripping sequence. There is a lot to contemplate in this cerebral labyrinth and unknown dangers around every corner, it really is and will remain a timeless classic
…and what about about baby… and what about manifestations.. all of this mysticism is conjured up through a few passages and underlying behavior, words hidden in sentences and at many times can be pinned on an young girls active imagination, and that’s the magical charm. I thoroughly enjoy watching the film and it always reminds me to get more tannis root.
R : To the devil a daughter (1976), The House of the devil (2009), The Omen (1976), Look what happened to Rosemary’s Baby (1976)
L : Occult Films, Devil Worshippers
A : Why is cinema so obsessed with the Devil.
5s : Roman Polanski, Mia Farrow