R is for Rosemary’s Baby

For this year’s A-To-Z Challenge, my theme is MOVIES. I will be working my way through the alphabet during the month of April with movie titles and short blurbs about each movie. Today’s movie is “Rosemary’s Baby.”

“Rosemary’s Baby” was a 1968 American psychological horror film written and directed by Roman Polanski. It starred Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon, Sidney Blackmer, Maurice Evans, and Ralph Bellamy, The film was a box-office success, grossing over $30 million in the United States. It received numerous accolades, including multiple Golden Globe Award nominations and two Academy Award nominations. Ruth Gordon won both the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress as well as the Golden Globe in the same category.

Before this movie was released, I had read the book with the same title written by Ira Levin. The horror novel sold over 4 million copies, making it the top bestselling horror novel of the 1960s. I loved the book and I was reluctant to see the movie when it came out because my experience at that point was that movie adaptations of great books pretty much sucked.

My girlfriend at the time, who hadn’t read the book but heard me rave about it, wanted to see the movie. So we went and to see it together. In Roman Polanski’s Hollywood debut, he put together a film that turned out to be incredibly faithful to the best seller.

The film was about a young newlywed couple, Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse (Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes) who moved into a large, rambling old apartment building in Central Park West, and begin a loving, post-honeymoon period. They became friendly with the eccentric next-door neighbors, the Castevets (Ruth Gordon and Sidney Blackmer), an overly-solicitous and intrusive elderly couple, and soon the struggling husband’s acting career improved and turned promising. But after a nightmarish dream of making love to a horned beast, the paranoid, haunted, and fragile Rosemary believed that she had been impregnated so that her baby could be used in the New Yorkers’ evil cult rituals.

Suffering through a long period of a debilitating pregnancy, she consulted with a long-time friend (Maurice Evans) who died mysteriously, but had sent her a book about witchcraft, which suggested that their Castevet neighbor Roman was the son of a famous martyred satanist.

After giving birth at home under heavy sedation, Rosemary is told by her obstetrician (Ralph Bellamy), a friend of the Castevets, that her baby has died. But she didn’t believe it, and after hearing an infant’s cries elsewhere in the building, she finds a coven of satanists gathered in the Castevets’ apartment with Guy and her newborn son. Informed that Satan is the child’s father, Rosemary initially reacts with horror but then seems to accept her role as its mother.

“Rosemary’s Baby” is one of horror cinema’s all-time classics. Without cheap thrills, gore, or sensationalistic elements, it presents the menacing presence of evil surrounding us in the alienated, every-day, mundane city environment. If you’re into eerie gothic horror films, this is one to see. Or you can also read Ira Levin’s excellent book.


Previous A2Z 2022 posts: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

42 thoughts on “R is for Rosemary’s Baby

  1. newepicauthor April 21, 2022 / 6:13 am

    The Manson Family murders took place while Rosemary’s Baby was still being shown in theaters. John Lennon was assassinated outside the building where Rosemary’s Baby was filmed.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mike April 21, 2022 / 6:57 am

    A classic indeed. One of the few movies that does credit to its book. Love the way seemingly insignificant details accumulate into an avalanche of horror.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Marleen April 21, 2022 / 6:58 am

    Nope

    Liked by 1 person

  4. eschudel April 21, 2022 / 8:14 am

    Oh, very classic. Part of every Hallowe’en movie binge!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lou Carreras April 21, 2022 / 8:14 am

    Created a whole series of horror movie tropes in its wake. Perhaps as important to the genre as Corman’s work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango April 21, 2022 / 10:04 am

      I agree. “Rosemary’s Baby” set the stage for movies like “The Exorcist” and “The Omen.” And what impressed me was how true it was to the book. The actors in the movie were spot on to how I envisioned the characters from the book.

      Like

  6. JT Twissel April 21, 2022 / 8:55 am

    The older actors really made this film I think – Ruth Gordon and Ralph Bellamy were obviously have a great time with their roles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango April 21, 2022 / 10:06 am

      And they were exactly how I pictured them to be when I read the book before seeing the movie.

      Like

  7. Marilyn Armstrong April 22, 2022 / 12:25 pm

    This movie was such a shocker when it came out. Given all the bizarre conspiracy theories now? This is nothing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango April 22, 2022 / 7:46 pm

      True, Republicans would blame Democrats for permitting intercourse between women and the devil.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Marleen May 16, 2022 / 5:22 pm

        Speak of the devil:

        https://tyt.com/watch/6e6Xst82zYACGGyweSOkMg/2t84kRO3meGNCBnJOimpKz/clips/2mWO7f4Bq6bcoph3qO6K25

        May 4, 2022

        Fossil fuel giant Chevron is teaming up with local police in Richmond, California to intimidate workers as they enter their seventh week of striking. Documents show that Chevron is covering the overtime pay of Richmond and San Pablo police officers to standby and keep the area “secure” throughout the labor dispute.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Marleen May 16, 2022 / 5:33 pm

          https://theintercept.com/2020/01/29/chevron-ecuador-lawsuit-steven-donziger/

          January of 2020: An attorney who has been battling Chevron for more than a decade over environmental devastation in South America was put on house arrest. Few news outlets covered the detention of Steven Donziger, who won a multibillion-dollar judgment in Ecuador against Chevron over the massive contamination in the Lago Agrio region and has been fighting on behalf of Indigenous people and farmers there for more than 25 years. So on August 6, Donziger left a Lower Manhattan courthouse unnoticed and boarded the 1 train home with an electronic monitoring device newly affixed to his ankle. …

          “I’m like a corporate political prisoner,” Donziger told me as we sat in his living room recently.

          Like

            • Marleen May 16, 2022 / 6:07 pm

              https://www.peoplesworld.org/article/how-chevron-imprisoned-environmental-lawyer-steven-donziger/

              ……. Steven Donziger gave a final hug to his son last Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. Donziger had spent over two years confined in his Manhattan apartment, restricted by a judge-ordered GPS ankle bracelet. And now his first destination, excluding court, of course, would be the nearest jail, to which Steven, a supposed flight risk, drove himself.

              After the years spent on house arrest throughout an intimidation lawsuit and facing an $800,000 bail bond—the highest in U.S. history for a misdemeanor—Donziger will now spend the maximum sentence of six months in a federal prison. The alleged crime was contempt of court, but the real crime was Donziger’s successful lawsuit against Chevron, which resulted in $9.5 billion in damages being allocated to Ecuadorians affected by their deadly pollution in the country.

              Not a penny of that $9.5 billion, however, ever made it to the people of Ecuador. Instead, Chevron weaseled their way out of the damages and launched a billion-dollar show trial against the attorney that stuck up for the indigenous people of Ecuador.

              Corporate cancer

              ………………..

              Like

            • Marleen May 16, 2022 / 6:17 pm

              https://www.makechevroncleanup.com/press-releases/2021/3/4/donziger-wins-extraordinary-victory-over-chevron-in-new-york-federal-appeals-court

              ……………

              Garbus said the decision today calls into question the entire foundation of three years of brutal civil and criminal contempt proceedings authorized by Kaplan at Chevron’s request that targeted Donziger, several supporters of the case, and Donziger’s own family members. It also endorses the very first objection that Donziger made in early 2018 to Chevron’s request to hold him in contempt of court. Donziger has spent three years trying to get appellate review of Kaplan’s authorization of the Chevron discovery campaign to achieve the vindication he received today, said Garbus. During that time, Judge Kaplan took the unprecedented step of charging him with criminal contempt for challenging the very basis of Kaplan’s own order, which turned out at least in part to be unlawful.

              “Steven Donziger is a great champion of human rights,” said Garbus, who has represented Daniel Ellsberg, Cesar Chavez, and Nelson Mandela in a six-decade career. “The decision is additional proof that the Chevron-orchestrated criminal contempt case against Steven is a product of a corporate retaliation campaign designed to punish Steven and intimidate all who helped hold the company accountable for its ‘Amazon Chernobyl’ disaster in Ecuador.”

              ………………

              Like

            • Marleen May 16, 2022 / 6:57 pm

              This is a long and detailed article, I recommend reading it (beyond what I’ve quoted).

              https://www.levernews.com/chevrons-prisoner/The SDNY

              ………. U.S. Attorney’s office declined to prosecute the case, citing a lack of resources, so in July 2019, Kaplan [a Clinton appointee] took the unusual step of turning the contempt case over to attorneys from the major corporate law firm Seward & Kissel LLP to act as special prosecutors. He also selected a colleague, Judge Loretta Preska, to hear the criminal case. As part of the proceedings, Preska sentenced Donziger to his ongoing home confinement in August 2019.

              But the new firm had ties to Chevron. Seward & Kissel had represented Chevron as recently as 2018 — a fact that the prosecution did not disclose for seven months after being selected. And Preska was a member of the conservative Federalist Society, which listed Chevron as a “gold circle” supporting firm in a pamphlet for its 2017 annual lawyers convention. Chevron separately donated at least $50,000 to the Federalist Society in 2015. To Donziger and his allies, those connections are central to his current narrative. Two of the three attorneys for the prosecution recently left Seward & Kissel.

              “Chevron is prosecuting me via its own law firm,” Donziger tells The Daily Poster. “I don’t think that’s ever happened before in our country’s history and it should be terrifying to anybody who believes in the rule of law or does human rights or environmental justice work.” …

              Last summer, the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and the National Lawyers Guild filed a motion calling for a dismissal of the charges against Donziger on the grounds that moving forward could set a precedent “for judges to be able to engage in judicial harassment and misconduct and appoint private prosecutors that are shielded from revealing a conflict of interest.”

              Meanwhile, Chevron has been successfully blocking enforcement of the Ecuador judgment around the globe. ….

              … Donziger sees his ongoing prosecution [in New York] as part of America’s descent into what he calls “corporatocracy.”

              Like

          • Marleen May 16, 2022 / 5:52 pm

            https://www.makechevroncleanup.com/press-releases/2020/12/31/us-judge-preska-slammed-for-doing-chevrons-dirty-work-in-unprecedented-500-day-detention-of-human-rights-lawyer-steven-donziger

            Two Judges with Financial Links to Chevron Colluding with Chevron Private Prosecutor to Attack Lawyer, Critics Say

            New York – In a decision described as Kafkaesque by human rights advocates, a U.S. judge who leads a pro-corporate judicial organization funded by Chevron has refused yet again to release celebrated environmental attorney Steven Donziger from home detention after he helped his Indigenous clients win a historic $9.5 billion pollution judgement against the oil giant.

            Judge Loretta Preska today issued a New Year’s Eve order continuing Donziger’s indefinite house arrest in Manhattan for a 17th month even though the longest sentence ever imposed for his misdemeanor contempt charge – which his lawyers consider unsupported by evidence – is three months of home confinement if convicted.

            Partly because the COVID pandemic has closed the New York courthouse, Donziger has yet to be granted a trial.

            In the meantime, Preska has denied Donziger’s release four times even though not a single person in the U.S. charged with a federal misdemeanor has been held for even one day, much less well over a year, according to Donziger’s lawyer Ron Kuby (see here).

            ………………..

            Like

  8. Lauren April 22, 2022 / 8:56 pm

    I never read the book. A very scary movie though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango April 26, 2022 / 10:58 pm

      Sorry if I gave away too many spoilers.

      Like

  9. J-Dub April 26, 2022 / 5:37 pm

    I always read the book first. I enjoyed both but the book set the tone. It was much later that I saw the movie as a rerun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango May 16, 2022 / 2:51 pm

      Yes it was. Scary.

      Like

  10. leigha66 June 13, 2022 / 11:11 pm

    This one was like the Omen… came out at a time I was a little young to handle films like this and I have just never gotten around to watching it.

    Liked by 1 person

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