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Rosemary's Baby
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Rosemary's Baby (1968)

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Plot Summary:
"Rosemary and her new husband, Guy, move into a new apartment in New York, befriending an elderly couple who live near by. But when another girl in the block commits suicide, Rosemary starts getting more attention than she desires, from all the wrong people. And now with her (late) friend's warnings about witches in mind, she has a new problem - the protection of her forthcoming child. But it may not be the child that needs protection."


Review by
Ryan McDonald
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Review Date: 29 January 2004 My Rating: out of 5

 

Mia Farrow and her second-rate actor husband John Cassavetes move into an apartment complex populated by seemingly friendly, but rather nosy neighbours (including kooky Ruth Gordon and avuncular husband Sidney Blackmer) who may be involved in sinister activities, with poor Rosemary a possible target.

Or perhaps the frail young lady is just plain barmy. Character actor Elisha Cook Jr. turns up as the landlord, Ralph Bellamy is a doctor recommended by the neighbours when Rosemary becomes pregnant, and a very young Charles Grodin is Rosemary's usual doctor. Look for schlock producer William Castle as the man outside the phone booth, this was quite a departure for him, though it was certainly a good idea for him to let someone else direct it and simply produce it, Castle directing would've resulted in a very different film.

A slow-moving and occasionally artsy Satanic thriller, this otherwise very effective Roman Polanski film thankfully doesn't show us too much (it's an occasionally brilliantly understated and moody film with a superlative use of sound), though most people know the ending. Farrow, not the world's greatest actress, is well-cast here, as is Cassavetes. Even better are Oscar-winner Gordon (always enjoyable, and almost as often over-the-top) and the criminally underrated Blackmer. Maurice Evans, Dr. Zaius himself, is terrific as a family friend of Farrow's, and he's the most likeable character in the film.

It's not my favourite film of this type, that would be 'The Omen', but some more modern thrillers with twists and turns really ought to look to this one for inspiration (dare I suggest the blatantly obvious 'Abandon'?- one of about a hundred films I could mention), so long as you don't already know all the surprises before hand, the film can be quite startling on first viewing.

OVERALL SUMMARY
Creepy, unusual film builds slowly, but the climax is horrifying and unforgettable. I'm not moving into an apartment complex after this flick, I can tell you.




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