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The Bad Seed (1956)

7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 8,108 users  
Reviews: 156 user | 74 critic

A housewife suspects that her seemingly perfect 8-year-old daughter is a heartless killer.

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(screenplay), (play), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Bad Seed (1956)

The Bad Seed (1956) on IMDb 7.5/10

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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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An unofficial "sequel" to "The Bad Seed", Patty McCormack's "Mommy" is psychotically obsessed with her 12-year-old daughter Jessica Ann -- so much so that when she finds out Jessica didn't ... See full summary »

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Director: Nevzat Pesen
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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...
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...
Evelyn Varden ...
...
...
Jesse White ...
Gage Clarke ...
Joan Croydon ...
Claudia Fern (as Joan Croyden)
...
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

Plot Keywords:

colonel | dream | truth | medal | lying | See more »

Taglines:

A WOMAN'S SHAME...Out in the Open! 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:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Henry Jones (LeRoy) also plays the radio announcer who reports the Fern School tragedy. See more »

Goofs

When Christine Penmark and Monica Breedlove fetch the locket, Christine hands it to Monica. When Monica leaves the bedroom a crewman's hand holding a cloth is seen at the bottom left of the bedroom door. See more »

Quotes

Christine Penmark: Do you really mean to say that nice family surroundings and advantages could make no difference at all?
Reginald 'Reggie' Tasker: Yes. It's as if these children were born blind permanently and you just couldn't expect to teach them to see.
Christine Penmark: Well, would you notice any brutish expressions on their faces?
Reginald 'Reggie' Tasker: Sometimes. But more often they present a more convincing picture of virtue than normal folk.
Christine Penmark: But that's horrible!
Reginald 'Reggie' Tasker: It's just that they are bad seeds. Plain bad from the beginning. And nothing can change them.
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the finale, a narrator tells the audience "One moment please. And now our wonderful cast." Then, the principal cast members are introduced one by one, like they would be at the end of a play. After that's done with, there's a brief scene in which Nancy Kelly spanks Patty McCormack. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Remington Steele: Blood Is Thicker Than Steele (1984) 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
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

An Unusual & Effective Thriller
27 July 2004 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

With some familiar elements of classic thrillers plus some creative turns, this is an unusual and effective thriller. Patty McCormack is memorable as young Rhoda, and the rest of the cast succeed in making their characters react believably to some nearly unbelievable situations. The story moves slowly enough to build suspense carefully, while still holding your interest the whole time.

For this kind of story to work, it has to keep the tension and uncertainty without becoming obviously implausible or annoyingly overplayed. In "The Bad Seed", we see the tension and fear that build in the characters as the story develops, but events also unfold within an atmosphere that otherwise would be peaceful and normal, making for an interesting contrast that helps to maintain a good balance.

Unlike the many banal movies made in recent years about serial killers and the like, "The Bad Seed" also contains some substance. The characters, especially the mother (played by Nancy Kelly), not only have to make difficult decisions, but also must fearfully attempt to understand the reasons for everything. It's a good example of how well a thriller can work when carefully made without a lot of extraneous elements, and it's a demonstration that a movie can have a tense, dark story without being shallow or superficial at the same time.


12 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Does Anyone Empathize with Rhoda? andersensister
Leroy was kinda stupid! barbbeck
Eileen Heckart's performance middsgo-956-41818
How do we know that the mother survived? waldenpond88
Who do you think should play 'Rhoda' if they ever made a Remake? gitano_apo
Nancy Kelly - 35 years old - good God! cadrega_82
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