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The Bad Seed (1956)

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

Director:

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:
... Christine Penmark
... Rhoda Penmark
... Leroy Jessup
... Hortense Daigle
... Monica Breedlove
... Col. Kenneth Penmark
... Richard Bravo
... Emory Wages
... Reginald 'Reggie' Tasker
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

Taglines:

What would you do if you were cursed with "The Bad Seed"? See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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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)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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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

The original Broadway production of "The Bad Seed" by Maxwell Anderson opened on December 8, 1954 and ran for 334 performances. Nancy Kelly won the 1955 Tony Award for Actress in a Drama for "The Bad Seed" and recreated her role in the movie. Patty McCormack, Eileen Heckart, Evelyn Varden, Henry Jones and Joan Croydon also recreated their stage roles in the movie version. See more »

Goofs

While Christine is reading a bedtime story to sleepy Rhoda, Rhoda's pigtails change positions multiple times between shots. See more »

Quotes

Hortense Daigle: Miss Fern dyes her hair.
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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 Djöflaeyjan (1996) 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

 
The devil wore dotted swiss.
27 April 2005 | by See all my reviews

Minor 1950's classic that holds up well fifty year later. The film does have its flaws. Occasionally it has the feel of a staged play--at times it seems Mrs. Penmark has to answer the door every five minutes so as to get the other major characters on screen. The Freudian psychobabble and the altered ending add an unnecessary half hour or so to the running time. And the acting can be very overwrought (although the scene in which Mrs. Penmark is screaming in the apartment as Leroy screams outside--both counterpointed by Rhoda's untalented but very loud rendition of "Au Clair de la Lune"--is a moment of high camp horror on par with anything in "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?") Still the movie works, largely because of Rhoda, the eerily self controlled little murderess who despite her sweet smiles always looks at though her hair is braided a bit too tight. It helps that an actress was cast who was cute enough, but not too pretty--Patty McCormack looks like a miniature gargoyle when she drops the sunny mask and starts roaring. Leroy, the leering simple minded caretaker is almost as unsettling--the scenes in which he sadistically taunts Rhoda almost amount to a very twisted flirtation, as he is clearly more delighted than appalled by her capacity for evil (at least until he learns just how far this capacity goes).

I haven't seen the 1980's remake, but I can't see how it could top the original, if only because evil little girls in jeans and T-shirts just aren't as scary as evil little girls with hair bows and starched frocks.


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