Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Article #1779 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-27-2006
Posting Date: 6-26-2006
Directed by Roman Polanski
Featuring Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon

A woman and her actor husband move into a new apartment in a building with a long, bizarre history. She meets some of her strange neighbors, and begins to suspect that they may be witches who have designs on her unborn child.

One of the shrewdest things William Castle ever did was that when he acquired the rights to Ira Levin’s novel, he decided to pass the directorial chores to Roman Polanski rather than try to direct himself; he must have had an inkling that this project required something special. It’s probably Polanski’s greatest foray into horror, and it manages to hold up very well on rewatching. The greatest strength of the movie is that the witches are such an interesting, strange bunch, with Ruth Gordon stealing the show as the busybody neighbor whose intrusiveness has much more sinister motives than mere irritating nosiness. All the performances are good, though, with strong showings from Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Sidney Blackmer and Ralph Bellamy. There are a lot of familiar faces and voices popping up along the way as well, with Victoria Vetri as a woman taken in by the Castavets, Elisha Cook Jr., Charles Grodin, Roy Barcroft and Tony Curtis as the voice of the blinded actor. Still, the best cameo comes from William Castle himself as the mysterious man near the phone booth; it’s hard not to laugh when he turns around and we see him and his cigar. The one thing I really noticed this time around was that, though Rosemary does know that the witches have designs her, she is wrong about what exactly they are up to.


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