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24 January 2011

so we agree Rosemary's Baby = top 20 all time (from hollywood)?
I watched it again a couple years ago. I don't think it has aged well, even when viewed as a document of its time.
posted by Ardiril 24 January | 00:52
really? I watched it the first time a couple years ago (blown away) and watched it again yesterday (still impressed)

then I went on a binge and watched Carrie for the first time (I was expecting it to be more than it was.. but now I finally know where that image of her drenched in blood comes from!) and then The Omen (1976) which was ok; I'd already seen a faithful remake in 2006.

But yeah I really like these slow/psychological horror movies with good camera work like Rosemary's Baby, the Shining, etc. Then I try to inflict them on people and they're underwhelmed by their lack of horror-ness..
posted by Firas 24 January | 00:59
I watched it again last year and thought it held up very well. A movie in love with New York of the 70's.
posted by arse_hat 24 January | 01:07
I think Rosemary's Baby stands up great. Lots of films from the 70s are too slow for me to bear. They wallow in themselves too much, are too taken in by "hey look what we're putting on the screen how cool is this?" Rosemary's Baby isn't exactly a speedy film but every scene in Rosemary's Baby has some little bit of genius and I don't find it boring or slow at all. I can watch it a bunch of times.

And I gotta say John Cassavetes's acting is a big part of the awesomeness for me. One of my favorite acting moments of any movie is in the part where Rosemary wants to see another doctor (one who isn't secretly a Satanic cultist), and Guy has run out of ways to bully her and stall her into enduring the pain longer. He desperately throws out the line that "it wouldn't be fair to Dr Sapperstein," choking back a laugh as he says it. He can't believe how absurd his bullshit has finally become, and the way Cassavetes does that laugh is perfect. He does a great job with that disgusting bastard of a character.
posted by fleacircus 24 January | 02:54
I will say the book still holds up very well.
posted by Ardiril 24 January | 03:10
Yea, I saw it a few years ago and found it pretty uninvolving.
posted by octothorpe 24 January | 07:46
fleacircus, that's one of my favorite moments in the movie too

yeah the fact that all the characters are so pleasant and extroverted makes it creepier as the plot becomes clearer. It's an interesting twist on old-fashioned dramatic irony when even the audience doesn't know what's going on themselves but still catches on faster than a character

he does that little laugh a lot.. when she puts away the charm he says "well if you took it you should wear it" in a dramatic/playful voice and then does the laugh.. when she says she's going to meet Hutch and he leaves all of a sudden he does a little laugh before saying he wants to get ice cream.. upon viewing it a second time if you look at how many times he leaves all of a sudden you realize often he's going out with an agenda
posted by Firas 24 January | 09:29
Ha yes, whenever she starts making up her mind about something, Guy disappears to report to Roman and Minnie, and Minnie shows up soon after to handle her. Guy himself is weak and useless, a total pawn. In the end he can't even look Rosemary in the eye.

I think it's also sort of interesting that Guy and Rosemary start out as cool (dare I say) hipsters. He's an actor, she's a model. Then they decide to settle down... he focusses on her career and they start a family, but it's all eeeevil. Authority and tradition are the devil!

It's not a huge heebie-jeebies kind of movie. I don't even care about the supernatural parts so much, but they need to be there.
posted by fleacircus 24 January | 14:27
Hmm, top 20 among horror films, I think. I'm not sure it's top 20 among films. Great performances and wonderful creepy plot, though. (I like the book too.)

My favorite scene: Mia eating the steak raw.
posted by bearwife 24 January | 18:21
I just rewatched Rosemary's Baby for the kazillionth time last weekend, and I thought what I always think: that it must have been a far more effective film when it was fresh, if only because it was being watched by people for whom the end was something of a mystery.

Polanski sets up the ambiguity of the action beautifully: as the plot builds, it's easy to believe that Rosemary has fixated on a crazy, impossible idea and that this fixation has knocked her reason off-balance.

It builds and builds: first she's anxious about her neighbor-acquaintance's suicide, then about her husband's aloofness, then about the intrusion of her elderly neighbors into her life, then about a dear friend's illness, then about her own pain and fear of losing the much-desired baby. It's easy to imagine that Hutch's book just gives a distraught, alienated, desperate woman a point around which to focus her unfocused anxieties.

I actually think it might be a better film without the reveal at the end, with a little ambiguity preserved. I think the scariest parts of that film, scarier by far than the nightmare sequence or the creepy neighbors, are 1) the easy betrayal by Guy (and that would be scary if it actually happened or if she just thought it happened) and 2) the feeling that she's losing her footing in plausible reality and that no one will believe her.

But then, that's why I think The Tenant is a superior film, despite some of its clumsiness.
posted by Elsa 24 January | 19:39
One of the all-time greats. Almost the entire film is one long buildup to the brilliant last ten minutes, when the wicked plot is finally laid bare. The movie does a beautiful job of putting the viewer into Rosemary's paranoid headspace. There are so many great little moments, some of them so subtle you might miss them on first viewing: the way Minnie and Roman take such great interest in the lives of Rosemary and Guy only after the suicide death of their live-in border (upon first meeting them, M&R are more or less uninterested in their new neighbors); during the first dinner party with M&R, when Rosemary peeks in from the kitchen to see what her husband and Roman are up to, there's a neat, ominous little shot where all you can see is the backs of their two chairs pulled close together and heavy streams of tobacco smoke clouding up both sides of the screen; when Rosemary and Minnie walk into the room, for a split second you see an expression on Guy's face which is a combination of guilt and awe at the stories Roman has been telling him; and when Rosemary finally feels her baby kicking, she puts Guy's hand against her belly and he slightly recoils when he feels the fetus moving. There are dozens more, but I don't have the time to do them justice.

And I agree: Guy is one of the most loathsome movie husbands ever put on celluloid. Say what you will about John Cassavetes the filmmaker, as an actor he was top notch.
posted by Atom Eyes 24 January | 19:53
during the first dinner party with M&R, when Rosemary peeks in from the kitchen to see what her husband and Roman are up to, there's a neat, ominous little shot where all you can see is the backs of their two chairs pulled close together and heavy streams of tobacco smoke clouding up both sides of the screen

Oooooh, isn't that fantastic? Such a seemingly simple little snip, and so rich in subtext. Everything about that shot is beautifully executed and acted, and the movie is loaded with little moments like that.
posted by Elsa 24 January | 22:50
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