[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B00DW671HE][/pullquote] Based on the 1967 novel by Ira Levin, Rosemary’s Baby, written for screen and directed by Roman Polanski follows the titular Rosemary (Mia Farrow) and her husband Guy (John Cassavetes) as they move into a New York apartment. While there, Rosemary falls pregnant after a bizarre night of seemingly drug-induced rape involving a demon and a group of naked people. Delighted despite this odd nightmare, Rosemary is cared for by her new neighbours and their highly-distinguished doctor, although she drastically loses weight and suffers from months of stomach cramps as the pregnancy slowly seems to be killing her from the inside.
Rosemary’s Baby is not your classic horror tale, but it’s shown on screen by Polanski in a classic fashion. Adopting an almost stage-like melodrama with hints and clues to the truth of her pregnancy and her baby, the film hugs the line between reality and fantasy beautifully. The subtle history of the building including the shocking tales of cannibalism and infanticide are simply a little nod to the audience that something is afoot.
Farrow is supremely cast as Rosemary’s Baby’s lead, the naÃ¯ve and sweet Rosemary who slowly loses her mind, convinced that her failing actor husband has sold their first-born to a bunch of Satan-worshippers in exchange for success. The screenplay and action keeps the audience in suspense, with enough odd behaviour to suggest that Rosemary is right, but also enough over-reaction from her to doubt her mental state. It’s masterful stuff from a director at the top of his game.
Rosemary as the central character of Rosemary’s Baby is weak and easily lead, often repeating other peoples’ opinion as her own, which makes her so plausibly positioned in line for a horrific plot, or mentally deranged to imagine the whole thing. Whilst she is in almost every scene, the film is stolen by her pushy neighbour Minnie (Ruth Gordon). As likely to be one of the leaders in a Satanic coven as she is to be a mass-murdering sociopath, she appears unexpectedly in Rosemary’s life to give some pointless life lesson and to generally fuss over the ˜preg-a-nent’ women.
So with an excellent supporting cast, a mysterious and macabre undertone throughout make Rosemary’s Baby is rightfully remembered as one of the best pure horror films of all time.