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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Obligatory SPOILER WARNING
What would you do if you woke up not long after believing you're child had died at birth, only to find a group of mean old witches sitting around a baby cradle chanting "All hail Adrian, son of the devil"? Well, that's a predicament that Rosemary Woodhouse has to face at the end of this movie.
Rosemary's Baby is a true classic of the horror/chiller genre, I think it's a film that's going to appeal more to women or men with children, because it taps into the fears and anxieties of childbirth. The ending of the film is a metaphor, because Adrian is the son of the Devil, it becomes a play on deformity, and Rosemary has to come to the conclusion weather or not she can still love him unconditionally.
This is timeless stuff here, and people who say it isn't scary obviously should go and rent a cheap slasher movie or something along the lines of Friday the 13th, this is chilling psychological horror at it's most subtle. Polanski's direction goes in for that sixties feel, lots of colour and no-nonsense angles, it does make the film seem a little dated, but it also gives a very creepy atmosphere to the apartment (a la Repulsion).
The performances are also good, the main standouts being Farrow as the innocent Rosemary, and Cassavetes is good as the scheming Guy, but all acting plaudits would go to the excellent Ruth Gordon (remember her from Harold & Maude) as the Woodhouse's nosey neighbour. This is serious and intelligent horror from one of cinemas sadly forgotten directors that I would recommend to anyone.
I had heard a lot about this movie for a long time but I had not had the
chance to see it until recently. And I must say that at first I wasn't that
impressed. For the first 30-40 minutes not a lot of stuff seemed to happen,
but after the truly horrifying rape scene (a great depiction of
"was-it-a-dream or reality") I was bolted to my couch watching the
enchanting Mia Farrow grow more and more into the frenzy of thinking she is
impregnated with the child of Satan himself. I am now convinced that I
should go see this movie again to catch all the details director Roman
Polanski must have put in those first 30-40 minutes.
Like in other movies in Polanski's early work (i.e. Knife In The Water) this was so well-paced that as a watcher you are lured into this false sense of security just like Rosemary is, but underneath horrible things are happening to her that are unspeakable.
Another thing about this film was the feel to it. I was convinced that this movie was made in 1978 or something but later on I checked my Maltin guide and read that it was actually from 1968! How's that for a surprise. This looks and feels like a seventies film but it's not!
The role of Ruth Gordon as Minnie Castavet was played to perfection to once again give the audience that feeling that such nice neighbours would not be capable of doing something so horrible and give us the dilemma in which we are driven to thinking that it is Rosemary who is dillusional and is making all this up. A deserved Oscar for this lady.
Sheer brilliance, a definite must have on DVD.
Undoubtedly, this film is certainly one of the best horror/suspense films ever made. It is a chilling psycho-drama, a social commentary, and a good old-fashioned horror yarn all at once. The story, of course, concerns a young Rosemary Woodhouse and her husband's journey in becoming tenants of a huge Brownstone called the Bram, where many evil, mysterious things have happened to/with its tenants over its long history. The story unfolds, and we are caught up in what Rosemary sees, hears, and even thinks. We feel her pain, anxiety, paranoia, and even fear. We sense conspiracy all around us and want nothing more than security for her and her child to come. This is due in large part to the masterful direction of one of the greatest directors of the screen...Roman Polanski. Polanski shows us just enough and lets are imaginations kick in and conceive the horrors around us as only are minds can conjure. The acting is extremely good in this film and it is in many ways a character actor's dream. Ruth Gordon deservedly won an oscar for her portrayal of the nosy, loquacious Minnie Castavet. Sidney Blackmer, playing her husband, also is equally good as an elderly man seemingly polite and good-natured but seething with hatred, evil, and delight in the pain of others. Ralph Bellamy, Patsy Kelly, and Maurice Evans are also memorable in their roles. Mia Farrow is very convincing as is her husband John Cassavetes. William Castle, the great showman of the movies, produced this gem, and unquestionably it was his greatest collaborative effort. First-rate direction, top-notch acting, one heck of a good script based on Ira Levin's masterpiece of simplicity in story-telling all lead to one heck of a good film!
When I started to watch Rosemary's Baby, I thought it was an ordinary
baby story. But it was not like that. As soon as you begin to watch,
you feel that some mystic things will happen. Rosemary and Guy moved a
new apartment where some bad things had happened. They wanted to have a
And also they had a strange neighbors. Two people both of them are old. Rosemary had a good relationship with them. But after a while Rosemary learned that she had a baby. She had a good doctor. But their strange neighbor suggest them a new doctor. Guy relied on them so he accepted this suggestion. After these things, Rosemary started to have strange dreams. Everything begins with these dreams that she was confused about that. In the end she had a strange baby who was called Satan by her neighbor and also her husband. It was a group that disobey and ignore the God. She wanted to save her baby from these bad people she understood their intention but it was too late. They had already captured her baby.
Actually, the movie includes something mystic and horror. You feel terrible in some spot. I was affected by Rosemary's physical appearance and also her psychology. At some point you feel pity about her due to the fact that she did not look well. And another thing that was affected me is that when rosemary gave birth they put it in a black cradle. Whatever happened, she was a mother. When she saw it in a cradle she was sorry, she shake its cradle even if it was not a normal baby.
Last but not least, nobody believed her and only one person believed her.Truth was much horrific. If you like these kind of movies I mean sometimes you feel horrifying, mercy, sorry, mystic, it would be a good choice. I like its team and cast. They are good at their jobs. I give 7 out of ten. I hope you have a chance to watch it.
by naturalACTOR- The only newer horror film (say, 90's to present) that
ever even slightly scared me, surprisingly, was "The Blair Witch
Project". Notably, "The Sixth Sense" had one quite terrifying scene,
but contained nothing else that was truly "scary". It's so hard to find
an amazing horror title today that I've almost given up trying.
Rosemary's Baby (1968) is not only a film that (no joke here) cannot be
watched alone, but is the scariest, most horrifying film of all time.
It's difficult to break it all down, because there is so much that contributes to the sheer fear this movie gives off. Firstly, Roman Polanski directs with some magic here, conjuring a well-written script into a haunting visual masterpiece. It is creepy how this film is so real, how the idea within its story doesn't seem very fictional. Mia Farrow plays Rosemary with frightening, twisted emotion. Her character even seems a little eerie at times when she begins to go too far with her accusations, and speaks as if somebody tortured her. John Cassavetes is unpredictable, and his character unreadable. He gives a solid performance, and Ruth Gordon, in her Oscar-winning portrayal of Minnie Castevet, brings the only light to this film, brewing a mix of nosiness and hilarity to her character.
I've found that films about Satanists are the very scariest, including this one and Dario Argento's "Suspiria" (1977). The film is shot smartly, and in a way that keeps the mystery, fear, and suspense tingling right to the very end. Again, Polanski is very masterful and careful about how he works this film, and how he directs his actors. If I had to pick the main reasons why this movie is so scary, and why it makes my hairs stick up so tall, it would have to be the camera work and directing, the story and script and how brilliantly it's played out, the simple feel and atmosphere, so unpredictable and creepy, the acting, done with malice and originality that I am still afraid to think about, and finally, the music.
Krzysztof Komeda composes the most haunting, and definitive horror film score, a lullaby that produces goosebumps and that gets the mind racing through tunnels of fear, through darkness, acting as almost a prelude to what is to happen in the film. It would even be plausible to say that the wild, satanic flute music, and mainly the original score, account for almost all of the film's alarming mountain of horror.
Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby is a unique horror film, one that is immensely scary, and also very well made. Never again will there be a better film of its kind. Polanski creates an air of dooming, prevalent fear and musically and plot-driven terror, but the greatest thing he achieves is the surpassing of Hitchcock's greatest works, in the same style--playing his own game, and coming out on top.
1968 was the year that gave us great films like '2001: A Space Odyssey'
and 'Planet of the Apes.' It was also a good year for the horror genre
because in that year audiences were treated to chillers like George
Romero's 'Night of the Living Dead' and this film, a film that is quite
different than the horror films we see now. Don't let you turn you away
though, it's far from uninteresting. 'Rosemary's Baby' is a good old
fashioned suspense movie with a supernatural angle and it succeeds in
just about every way. As of this writing the movie is 40 years old and
hasn't yet been forgotten. Now that's the sign of a powerful film.
Pros: Marvelous performances from all involved. Instead of using elaborate or gory/gooey effects, director Polanski focuses on suspense and atmosphere. The apartment building is so dark, eerie, and unwelcoming. There's not much music, but it's good and ranges from beautiful to chilling. Some really creepy images and scenes. Suspenseful and totally unpredictable. The pace is slow, but steady and helps in building the suspense. Some good twists and turns.
Cons: The clothing and furniture really date the film.
Final thoughts: Time has been really kind to this subtle, but very effective shocker. Jump scares and grisly violence are what seem to terrify today's mainstream audience and though I'm not totally against either of them, neither of them qualify as real scares. Check this one out if you want to see how it's really done.
My rating: 5/5
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Rosemary's Baby" mixes paranoia with dark humor, and the result is a
I can only suppose that director Roman Polanski drew on the experiences of his childhood in Nazi-occupied Poland in putting his unique stamp on this movie (the murder of his wife Sharon Tate had not yet occurred.)
Ira Levin, who wrote the book on which this movie is based, deserves a lot of credit. The creepy names of the characters -- "Roman and Minnie Castavet," " Dr. Sapirstein" -- add a disturbing sense of authenticity to this tale of old-fashioned black magic in what many might otherwise regard as the capital of modern sophistication and skepticism -- New York City.
This movie is filled with ironic juxtaposition, and that is the basis for much of its humor.
The choice of the Gothic and turreted Dakota apartment building (where John Lennon lived and died -- but that had not yet happened) is entirely appropriate.
The folksy neighborliness of the Castavets is especially disturbing in light of their true intentions, and Ruth Gordon gives an outstanding performance as Minnie Castavet.
The power of this movie lies in its many details -- the sets, the costumes, the lighting, the music, the dialog...It all comes together wonderfully -- at least until the last few minutes.
At that point -- when it is clear that the very worst fears have been realized -- it is an open question whether the ending is as good as it might have been. I felt very satisfied in that regard. The impulse to love in spite of horror is very powerful if not entirely convincing. But even if you don't agree, I believe this movie is still very close to being perfect.
People seem to approach this as being a horror movie. Well, I guess
it's not. And certainly not in days where the genre has been fully
occupied by more or less brain dead slasher flicks.
So to be perfectly clear, this movie is more or less typical Polanski style apartment suspense stuff, with the usual, well balanced mixture of paranoia and sarcasm. And as such it's outstandingly playful, entertaining and well crafted.
Most notable of course are the character portrayals, and those many special moments one immediately realizes were created not to drive the story, further the potential success of the movie or the fame of anybody involved, but to plainly create atmosphere and entertain us.
Just take the suicide sequence, the outfits in which Ruth Gordon and Sidney Blackmer come strolling down the street and the following dialog about cleaning windows at night, all in face of a dead body. If I ever saw sarcasm working on screen, I'd say it was here.
And the shot of Gordon holding her spectacles up to further inspect that young women who might know more about the relations of the deceased than herself - this potentially being a threat of course. Clearly, this stuff borders on being cartoonish, but Polanski - and Gordon - truly walk the line here.
Also a favorite of mine, their first dinner and Farrow's looking back into the dining room while helping out in the kitchen - all just quiescence, only the tobacco smoke hinting at people sitting around the corner and maybe talking about what? Ample space for our fantasy to fill in, deliberately given to us.
Gordon's performance here as house invading, chit chatting ever inquisitive elderly lady is a blast anyway. To me, one of the most memorable captured on screen, ever. Very much notable also Cassavetes, extending the evasiveness of his character to almost avoiding the camera. Rarely seen amongst actors I'd say, and giving a nice opaqueness to his performance.
I could go on of course, likely for hours and without even mentioning classics like the phone booth sequence. To me, this, Chinatown and Le Locataire comprise Polanski's classic period, and are ample evidence of what a really exceptional Hollywood studio director he was and could further have been - if he hadn't blown it himself. Very regrettable, really.
Highly recommended, to the true film fan.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
One thing I love about this film is its strangely cosy atmosphere, and the way it's confined almost completely to people's homes (Guy and Rosemary, Hutch, the Castevets). In those homes people do ordinary things - they dish up food, they grow herbs, wash up, redecorate. It's like a page out of Good Housekeeping. And Rosemary is surrounded by sweet, kindly older people (Hutch, the Castevets, Laura Louise). But then they turn out to be... waah, waah, waah waah! On watching it again (and again, and again) I noticed that the camera is right in among the actors a lot of the time, the frame sometimes cutting off their head or half their body. This makes you feel you're really there with them, not watching them on a stage or through a picture frame. And everybody speaks naturally - not a method "naturalistic" mumble, but the real thing. All the characters have their own way of speaking ("Call me - not your Aunt Fanny!"), and for a lot of the time they are talking about mundane things like making a window seat or picking up eggs from the store. The setting is fabulous (I keep trying to work out the plan of the apartment and how it fits onto the Castevets'). The casting is brilliant. Ruth Gordon, Sydney Blackmer, Elisha Cook Jr., Patsy Kelly, Maurice Evans, Mia and John. As someone else pointed out, Guy is much older than Rosemary, and though handsome he's short, and he's never made it as an actor. Are they living on her money? Even his attempts at taking off the neighbours ("on account of it's one of her specialitays") are lame. He constantly laughs at things that aren't funny. The music, even when it's just a descending chromatic scale, is brilliantly creepy, and I love the theme song (sung beautifully by Mia).
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Excellent suspenseful direction by Polanksi and a great cast highlight
this prototype reproduction-shocker from the late 60s, a film that
influenced many horror films to follow including the inferior
"Exorcist." I love how Polanski lets his camera roam and linger about
the massive apartment complex that is the film's central setting,
making it the literal eye of the audience. I think maybe my favorite
shot in the whole movie is when Rosemary (Mia Farrow) and Minnie
Castevet (Ruth Gordon) are talking and she glances at the room where
her husband, the appropriately named "Guy" (John Cassavetes) and Roman
Castevet (Sidney Blackmer) are talking and we see only the vaguely
sinister smoke drifting through the open doorway. I have a feeling that
doorways and hallways in general have a symbolic significance in this
film tied to its paranormal ruminations on pregnancy, but I'd have to
rewatch it to analyze that aspect of the film.
The story takes a little while to get going, but once we're into Rosemary's pregnancy the stakes begin to rise and suspense is unrelenting. There's also some great macabre humor thrown into the mix which reaches its apex in the film's famous "shocker" ending. It's a very atmospheric horror without any gore and with only minimal scares, to the extent that it reminds me of Jacques Tourneur's horror films (indeed given Polanski's status as a Francophile it's almost certain he had seen and been inspired by his films).
The music is also very memorable; I was already familiar with the tune from the album by "Fantomas" with Mike Patton where they did a heavy metal cover of it, recommended for fans of this movie.
But best of all are the performances from all 4 of the leads. Gordon and Blackmer are the highlight of the film for me with their wicked subversion of normal "nice old neighbor" type performances. Gordon of course was herself a brilliant writer and probably recognized the high quality of the material she was working with here. She's a fussy old lady who hides her true evil intent behind a blustering annoying façade of the old lady who's just a little bit too helpful. Blackmer is a good tonic to her high energy performing, projecting a reassuring feeling that greatly helps in the final scene when he gently rocks the cradle. The implication of that scene, that the maternal instinct will win out over all other reasoning, is powerful and ironic. Cassavetes isn't perfect but he is suitable in the role, the only one of the "villains" who actually had me guessing during much of the film's running time. And Farrow is a visual of gaunt helplessness, her eyes conveying fear and loss of control throughout the second half of the film. It's interesting that Polanksi says he initially envisioned a more "corn-fed" starlet in the role, specifically Tuesday Weld. In my opinion Tuesday Weld was a better actress than Mia Farrow and probably would have provided the film with an even more powerful feeling. It's true that Farrow looks perfect in the early phases of her pregnancy when she's losing weight and becoming paler, but she's already so thin in the first place that I think it would have been even more shocking to see Weld in the same situation. But I really can't fault Farrow's performance besides just the physical aspects of her screen presence which she isn't in control of. It's obvious that she and Polanski were on the same wavelength, and it's extraordinary how the male director and female star were able to make the character such a strong cipher for the audience.
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