Release date: June 12, 1968
Director: Roman Polanski
Ralph Bellamy and
Before The Exorcist, before The Omen, or even The Shining, there was Roman Polanskifs masterpiece of horror, Rosemaryfs Baby.
This is such a simple film that would go on to see a chain of demon-themed movies stemming from its release in 1968 all the way until today. Polanskifs movie went after a subject very rarely discussed, and something that still gives people chills down their spine, and that is Satanism and the occult.
The Church of Satan was formed by Anton LaVey (who might have aided Polanski during filming this is never provent though) in the 1960Œs, and most folks were not familiar with Satanism. This movie thrust the subject into their faces, and created, almost on its own, a separate genre of horror.
Mia Farrow is the title character Rosemary, who has justmoved into an old apartment building with her actor-husband, Guy, played by John Cassavetes. The husband who wants to be an actor has had a lot of recent tough breaks, and he sees the chance at having a career in film going by the wayside, until they meet their next-door neighbors Minnie and Roman Castevet, played by Ruth Gordon and Sidney Blackmer.
I can't think of too many instances in film that an actress been more suited for a role than Ruth Gordon was for the one she plays in Rosemary's Baby. She was perfect as the elderly, conniving neighbor, who is extremely nosy. Even when the film starts to turn to the darker side towards the middle, and even during the disturbing final scene, she stays the same way. Gordon would be rewarded for her acting, when she received an Academy Award for best supporting actress.
So after the two couples meet, out of the blue, Guy begins to get big breaks and is able to land himself a major role, taking over for the original actor who suspiciously went blind. This is when the film takes its dark turn, when Rosemary and Guy decide to have a baby, but she is drugged out of her senses, and is then impregnated by a demon-like figure, or at least that is what she sees in a dream.
From that moment on, the neighbors become even more involved, and Rosemary starts digging around and discovers that her husband may have made a pact with the couple next door, who she thinks are witches or some kind of devil worshipers. In return for his success, they would receive the newborn baby.
Rosemary's Baby overall has a slow, deliberate pace to it, this of course ends up just adding to the tension as the characters are starting to be revealed to show their true place/face in the story. The performances by everyone were great performances, and the roles played by Ralph Bellamy as Doctor Sapirstein and Maurice Evans as Edward Hutchins at least deserve a mention.
Do not waste time on this film if you are looking to scream out of fright, or if you are looking for cheap thrills. Rosemaryfs Baby contains none of that. But the thing you will find is what I consider to be on of Polanskifs finest works, and one that established what the horror genre should be about.
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