7.5/10
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195 user 80 critic

The Bad Seed (1956)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Horror | 12 September 1956 (USA)
A housewife suspects that her seemingly perfect eight year-old daughter is a heartless killer.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (play) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Evelyn Varden ...
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Gage Clarke ...
Joan Croydon ...
Claudia Fern (as Joan Croyden)
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Henry Daigle
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Storyline

Christine Penmark seems to have it all: a lovely home, a loving husband and the most "perfect" daughter in the world. But since childhood, Christine has suffered from the most terrible recurring nightmare. And her "perfect" daughter's accomplishments include lying, theft and possibly much, much worse. Only Christine knows the truth about her daughter and only Christine's father knows the truth about her nightmare. Written by A.L.Beneteau <albl@inforamp.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

"The Bad Seed" is the big shocker! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 September 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La mala semilla  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Paul Henreid tried to buy the rights to the play. He wanted to direct and was planning to cast Bette Davis in the role of the mother. See more »

Goofs

When Christine is reading a book to Rhoda, you can clearly see the cover and the title "Inside the Castle Wall". Later, when the Rhoda has fallen asleep and Christine closes up the book, you can see a gold (or silver) disk on the cover which wasn't there before. See more »

Quotes

Christine Penmark: Rhoda, what happened to old Mrs. Post in Wichita?
Rhoda: There was ice on the steps and I slipped and fell against her, and that was all.
Christine Penmark: That was all?
Rhoda: No. I slipped on purpose.
See more »

Crazy Credits

"You have just seen a motion picture whose theme dares to be startlingly different. May we ask that you do not divulge the unusual climax of the story. Thank you." See more »


Soundtracks

Au clair de la lune
(uncredited)
Attributed to Jean-Baptiste Lully
Played on the piano by Patty McCormack and whistled by Henry Jones
Played often in the score
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Vividly memorable
27 August 2001 | by (Leonia, NJ) – See all my reviews

My daughter, Rachel, always found this the most frightening movie she ever saw, and from a psychological perspective, it's easy to see why. Patty McCormack is magnificent as charming but evil first-grader Rhoda Penmark. Nancy Kelly is terrific in some scenes, but almost comically overwrought in others, as Rhoda's gradually terrified mother. Paul Fix deserves special mention in a strong performance as Kelly's father. And, Eileen Heckart is also a standout as the grief-stricken mother of a boy that we suspect Rhoda of killing. But, my personal favorite character is LeRoy, incredibly portrayed by Henry Jones. This is a characters I have never forgotten from the moment I first saw this one in the late 50's.

"That Rhoda is smart, almost as smart as me", he repeats for the camera several times in obsessive fashion. The ending which differed from the play has disturbed a lot of purists, but I think it has a lot of merit. Altogether, I give it 8 out of 10, very memorable and extremely well done.


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