Rosemary's Baby

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Roman Polanski’s classic horror film: I’m obviously missing something. Who starred in it? Who cares?

Just so you don't think I just completely gave up on this, here's the main cast members:

Mia Farrow as Rosemary.

John Cassavetes as Rosemary's husband.

Ruth Gordon as the witch next door. (Oscar for best supporting actress)

Sidney Blackmer as her sinister husband.

Ralph Bellamy as Dr. Sapirstein.

Back in the late ‘60s or possibly in the early ‘70s, this film may have worried film audiences with the premise of a cult of Satanists, living next door disguised as everyday elderly folk. You know the type; nosey, annoying, but unable to hurt a fly.

Watching it in 2008, the film was an expose on the gap between the equality of the sexes that was prevalent at that time. Men came home from work and were served a snack and a drink by the doting wife, who wasted away the day doing crafty type pursuits to beautify the home for her husband.

Men smoked either cigarettes or pipes depending on age and women drank alcohol during pregnancy without a care. Doctors were god who knew everything and nurses did what they were told in an instant. What man said went. If he decided the woman of the house wasn’t going to read a book, then she wouldn’t, if she was told to eat her desert, then by Jiminy, he had better eat it, or be able to hide it from him like a preschooler. I thought there was a sexual revolution in the sixties. Maybe Polanski thought women should be put back in their rightful place.

If life was really like this in America during the ‘60s-‘70s, I’m glad I grew up in Australia.

As far as the movie, the plot, the presentation of it: The underlying premise still works with a cult of Satanist living next to our young couple. They are depicted as normal, friendly, can’t-do-enough-for –you type of utopian neighbours. The story is typically disjointed in normal fashion for Polanski and odd camera angles, lighting and music all play their normal parts in trying to make up where plotting doesn’t/can’t maintain suspense.

As for it retaining the title as one of the greatest classical horror films of all time – not in my book. I found it to be boring, extremely slow, tedious and far from anything remotely resembling horror, thriller or psychological suspense. It’s a time capsule into the sociological environment of the time. If you are not a film historian, have no interest in the turn of the decade between the 60’s and ‘70s, and don’t wish to collect Polanski films, then give this a miss.