Rosemary’s Baby – USA, 1968

Rosemary’s Baby is a 1968 American psychological horror film written and directed by Roman Polanski, based on the bestselling 1967 novel by Ira Levin (The Stepford Wives). The cast includes Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon, Maurice Evans, Sidney Blackmer and Charles Grodin. It was produced by William Castle (director of House on Haunted Hill, The Tingler).

Rosemarys Baby 1968

Farrow plays a pregnant woman who fears that her husband may have made a pact with their eccentric neighbours, believing he may have promised them the child to be used as a human sacrifice in their occult rituals in exchange for success in his acting career.

The film was an enormous commercial success, earning over $33 million in the US on a modest budget of $3.2 million. It was met with near universal acclaim from film critics and earned numerous nominations and awards. The American Film Institute ranked the film 9th in their 100 Years…100 Thrills list.

On July 27th 2013, NBC Entertainment’s Bob Greenblatt announced that he will reboot Rosemary’s Baby for primetime. Described as a retelling of the bestselling novel by Ira Levin, the new version will focus on a young husband and wife living in Paris where “this edge-of-your-seat thriller unfolds.” No casting announced has been at the time of writing…

Rosemary Woodhouse (Mia Farrow), a bright but somewhat naive young housewife, and Guy (John Cassavetes), her husband and a struggling actor, move into the Bramford, a Gothic Revival 19th century New York City apartment building. Their neighbors, Minnie and Roman Castevet (Ruth Gordon and Sidney Blackmer), are an elderly and slightly eccentric couple who tend to be meddlesome but appear to be harmless.

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Rosemary meets a young woman, Terry Gionoffrio (Victoria Vetri) in the basement laundry room, and Terry tells her she has been taken in and helped by the Castevets after having slept on the streets and doing drugs. She says Roman and Minnie have been like grandparents to her. As Rosemary admires a pendant necklace the Castevets gave to Terry, she remarks on the strange smell which seems to be coming from the pendant, and Terry tells her it is from some kind of root. Returning home one night, Guy and Rosemary see a commotion and police on the street outside the Bramford; Terry has thrown herself to her death from the window of the Castevets’ seventh-floor apartment.

A short while after Terry’s death, Minnie invites Rosemary and Guy to dinner, and though they are reluctant to go, they ultimately do, and Guy forms a bond with the Castavets (though Rosemary remains reluctant to become too friendly with them). Minnie also gives Rosemary the pendant which had belonged to Terry, telling her it is a good luck charm and the odd smell is from a plant called “tannis root”…

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Reviews:

“The film works on multiple levels – as a supernatural thriller (though explicit paranormal elements are limited to a hallucinatory dream sequence and the final shot of the baby’s eyes), as a psychological thriller about a paranoid pregnant woman who imagines herself at the centre of a conspiracy, and as the last word in marital betrayal, since the most despicable villain here is surely Guy, who allows his wife to be raped by the devil in exchange for an acting role.” The Guardian

“There are some more explicit key scenes – a potential nighttime rape and a chilling climax – that serve to get right under our skin without making the whole premise seem ridiculous. Farrow and Cassavetes’s performances as a couple disintegrating serve Polanski well in his attempt to make the potential alienation of everyday family life feel horrific, and the faux-naive score, evoking lullabies, makes the whole affair feel doubly creepy in the most heady way possible.” Dave Calhoun, Time Out

Buy: Amazon.co.ukAmazon.com

” …various close-ups of Rosemary’s changing face throughout the film that are so good that actually there is an abundance of easy to see details and textures now that are nowhere to be seen on the DVD release. Shadow definition is also greatly improved. What pleases the most, however, is the very solid organic look the film has.” Blu-ray.com

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“It’s an involving and frightening story based on Ira Levin’s novel about the secret lives of neighbors and the paranoid suspicions of one young woman played terrifically by Mia Farrow. The Blu-ray arrives with an excellent audio and video presentation. With all-new bonus material that’s worthwhile, the package is a must-own for cinephiles and horror fans alike.” High-Def Digest

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Buy Blu-ray from Amazon.co.uk

rosemarys baby + odd couple double-bill

spine tingler the william castle story dvd

Buy Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story on DVD | Instant Video from Amazon.com

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Wikipedia | IMDb | Roman Polanski on Horrorpedia: The Fearless Vampire Killers | Repulsion | The Tenant | The Ninth Gate 

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