Monday, May 28, 2012

Movie of the Week – Rosemary’s Baby

This week’s movie is Rosemary’s Baby (1968).

The film is about a young couple who moves into an apartment building that has a history of strange occurrences. When the wife becomes pregnant, under mysterious circumstances, paranoia begins to rule her life over the safety of herself and her unborn baby. Writer-director Roman Polanski made his Hollywood debut (this being his first American film) with this film, working with famed low-budget horror producer William Castle, composer Krzysztof Komeda (one of his final films), cinematographer William Fraker, and wonderful production designer Richard Sylbert (who would collaborate again with Polanski on Chinatown). The film stars Mia Farrow (making her feature debut), and has a fantastic supporting cast with John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon (who won an Oscar for her performance), Sidney Blackmer, Maurice Evans, Ralph Bellamy, and Charles Grodin. Rosemary’s Baby works on many levels – it is thrilling and scary, has a good mystery plot and features good dramatic performances. Polanski does an excellent job relating Rosemary to the viewer, so that the paranoia resonates within the viewer as well, making the viewer uneasy – this is a difficult film to watch, as the viewer actively participates in the terror (which can be overwhelming for some). Polanski’s shooting style, framing and mise en scene also play off the paranoia that Rosemary and the viewer are feeling. It is one of the great horror/thriller films of the 1960s (and of cinema in general) and a must-see for genre fans. Check out the trailer.

Available on DVD and Streaming

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