Friday, October 7, 2011

Rosemary's Baby starts the Thrilling Month of October

October is the month of pumpkin flavored food, apple picking with cider doughnuts, Sam Addam's Octoberfest, and of course the month that contains Halloween.  I loved Halloween for several reasons: getting dressed up in costumes has always been fun for me, as a kid who wouldn't love free candy, and getting Halloween is full of good scares!  I am not a big fan of scary movies, in fact I think they are my least favorite genre of film.  Scary movies are often silly, and poorly written.  When it comes to being scared I enjoy a good thriller above the typical type of slasher film or one of the gross torture scary films.

Roman Polanski (Chinatown, The Pianist) wrote and directed Rosemary's Baby (1968)  a smart thriller that goes beyond traditional standards.  Rosemary (Mia Farrow) and Guy  (Jon Casavetes) Woodhouse  who move into an apartment and they encounter their peculiar neighbors The Castevets (played by Ruth Gordon and Sydey Blackmer).  Rosemary and her husband are trying to have a baby; she becomes pregnant and their neighbors step into the picture and interfere with this process in an atypical way.

Without giving too much of the plot away this film is far and away one of the best psychological thrillers I have ever seen.  Mia Farrow plays Rosemary with vulnerability and genuine fear  Farrow's performance was so nuanced I am shocked she did not earn an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.  The film only received two Oscar nominations one for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, and one for Best Supporting Actress for Ruth Gordon, which she won.  This was a film ahead of its time and it provided such an interesting dark twist on the concept of evil.

I remember the first time I watched this movie, I was sitting on the edge of my seat and this fast paced film raced to the end with Rosemary walking down the hallway and into the Castevets apartment.  The genius of this film was brought to life by two men the talented director, Roman Polanski and producer Robert Evans.  Polanski was genius behind the scenes and his shots of New York City along with the up close shots he uses on Farrow to feel her emotional angst.  Evans pushed this film to be made and pushed for Farrow to be the lead player, and boy did he know his stuff.  Farrow's waifish looks help characterize the gaunt nature of Rosemary much better than a Jane Fonda ever could have.

In an era of challenging the establishment this film uses the concept of the thriller to tell the story of control.  Scary movies rarely have a deeper point of view, but this film so adeptly uses its dark tones to keep the audience on their toes in a different way.  This film does not try to hard, nor does it take on the gimmicks of the genre.  The simplistic nature of the story makes this one of the best thrillers of all time.

1 comment:

Fritz said...

I agree, this is really a fantastic movie even though I am one of the few who is not happy about Ruth Gordon's win and performance in this.