Monday, March 12, 2012

ahhh, now I get it.. Rosemary's Baby


Turns out this is exactly as good as it's legendary standing.
I figured as much, but I hadn't seen it in many years, and it was one in a string of young discoveries including The Changeling, The Exorcist, and The Omen. By compare to these, it is incredibly restrained, and definitely dramatic over horrific, but horror is what my young mind was searching for.
Now, having had some life experience, I can see where true horror lies - in the minds of men.

And make no mistake - this movie is scary.
Watch the insidious takeover of the title-character's mind by everyone else in the film - Mia Farrow's performance is Oscar caliber is Roman Polanski's direction, but I'm a huge fan of his anyway.
Ruth Gordon is brilliant, and as creepy as Hannibal Lecter - love her voice.
The math of this screenplay is perfect - it's just so well-constructed.

The end scene is one of the coolest in film ever.


Boy on a Bicycle said...

True. Great film. I also like the sociopolitical roles of the time, the young couple, and the weird older people next door, very late sixties flower-p gen. I think Polanski learned a lot from this and applied it to "The Tenant". However he threw out the obvious showmanship, and almost sensationalistic coverage and subject matter of some scenes, but still kept the unsettling undertones. On a smaller scale, I guess it's a move from certain scenes trying to be scary, to everything just being downright creepy...

deDeurs said...

You mention just the right cues. RB is extremely well and cleverly constructed, even considering the novel was followed faithfully and devoid of Polanski's own interpretations, and there's not a moment where you are reminded you're just watching a movie. It also has an absolutely mind-boggling open ending (here Polanski finally gave the story his own twist, Levin was more direct) and at the same time it's so subtle! The Oscar affair is outrageous, it was unusual to win an award for a role in the 'horror' genre (only Joan Crawford/Baby Jane had scooped up one so far), but Farrow wasn't even NOMINATED.
But there's also an enigma, here. At the time she was a somewhat woozy hippie, according to the 'The Making of RB' docu she behaved a bit childish in between the takes (stoned, perhaps?). I have always wondered how much she realized she had a mountainous, psychologically complex role, and I'm sure she could never have brought it off with another director. Polanski worked true miracles with her. His choice is also an odd one, initially he didn't want her, she didn't even answer to the type he and Levin had in mind. (In The Stepford Wives, Katherine Ross was a typical Levin heroine). In all the years afterwards, Mia never came close once to this quality. What we see in RB is actor's magic. And a little hand from the Devil too, perhaps...?