Rosemary's Baby

D: Roman Polanski
Paramount (William Castle)
US 1968
136 mins


W: Roman Polanski [based on the novel by Ira Levin]
DP: William A. Fraker
Ed: Sam O'Steen & Bob Wyman
Mus: Christopher Komeda
PD: Richard Sylbert
Cos: Anthea Sylbert

Mia Farrow (Rosemary Woodhouse), John Cassavetes (Guy Woodhouse), Ruth Gordon (Minnie Castevet), Sidney Blackmer (Roman Castevet), Maurice Evans (Hutch), Ralph Bellamy (Dr. Sapirstein), Victoria Vetri (Terry Gionoffrio)

Rosemary's Baby is a genuine rarity of the horror genre, in which it manages to be menacing and foreboding without an abundance of grizzly death scenes, or even scary moments.
The film was Roman Polanski's first adaptation of a novel, and rather than improvising his own dialogue or scenes, he took Ira Levin's work completely in verbatim for something truly faithful to its source material.
Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse are the new residents in a New York apartment block, where their elderly next door neighbours begin to impose on their lives with an occult motive.
Rosemary becomes pregnant on the same night she dreams of being raped by a demon, and her doctor encourages her to bypass traditional medicines for herbal concoctions provided by her sinister neighbours.
It won't come as a shock that Rosemary is actually carrying the child of Satan and is living in the control of a coven of witches, but the way the mystery unravels is nothing short of gripping, even though the subject matter is supernatural, it's still tackled in a very feasible manner, a testament to both Polanski's direction and Ira Levin's original story.
Mia Farrow gives her career best performance in this movie, but the plaudits were stolen from her by the scene-stealing Ruth Gordon as Minnie Castevet, a meek, elderly woman who simply carries an aura of something far more sinister.
It's probably not a good choice of film to watch if you are expecting, but it's certainly a near-faultless classic of the horror genre.

Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby
Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby