“Rosemary’s Baby”

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Roman Polanski’s an odd duck.  He makes brilliant films, but then there’s the whole drug-and-rape thing.  If you’re like me, you’re disgusted that he doesn’t live up to the pure and noble innocence of the rest of history’s entertainers, but that’s how it is.  I think people feel repulsion* towards Polanski because, while he was doing lots of awful and immoral things, he was also making entertainment that wasn’t very mainstream.  If he had been as popular as a Michael Jackson or Elvis or Errol Flynn or Chuck Berry or Jimmy Page or Caligula, he wouldn’t be in a Swiss chateau, or as the Swiss call it, “prison.”

He’s made some excellent films … Repulsion is a creepy Hitchcock variation, while Chinatown … forget it, it’s Chinatown.**  Tonight, for the first time, I watched Rosemary’s Baby, one of those films I was supposed to have seen long ago.  Mia Farrow stars as Rosemary.  Mia Farrow has been courted by Frank Sinatra, Woody Allen, and countless other geniuses that should have better taste.  Mia Farrow wins the Kate Moss Award For Chick That Is Somehow Considered Hot By People I Don’t Relate To.

Anyway, Rosemary has a baby, and it’s all shizzed up.  Farrow does a great job of playing a baffled ninny, and John Cassavetes’ appearance reminds me to watch his films.  Cassavetes plays an actor; if this film is any indication, Polanski hates God and actors in equal measure.  Ruth Gordon won a deserved Academy Award for her performance.  One of the worst things about our increasingly generic planet is that we won’t see many Ruth Gordons in films anymore, and that’s a shame.  And while I’m at it, bring back Thelma Ritter!

While dated, Rosemary’s Baby serves as the filmic branch between Hitchcock and The Exorcist.  With this film, mainstream cinema’s content got just a little bit more shocking.  It’s worth watching solely for Polanski’s direction… each shot, no matter how subtle, is deliberate. I love films where it feels like the people behind the camera know both the beginning AND the end.

Watch it, if you haven’t.

*WHICH IS THE TITLE OF A FILM HE MADE I’M SMART
** WHICH IS A LINE IN THE FILM I’M SO SMART

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