Monday, September 5, 2011

Links: Rosemary's Baby

Roger Ebert reviewed Rosemary's Baby way back in July of 1968:

"Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby is a brooding, macabre film, filled with the sense of unthinkable danger. Strangely enough it also has an eerie sense of humor almost until the end. It is a creepy film and a crawly film, and a film filled with things that go bump in the night. It is very good. . . . When the conclusion comes, it works not because it is a surprise but because it is horrifyingly inevitable. Rosemary makes her dreadful discovery, and we are wrenched because we knew what was going to happen --and couldn't help her.

This is why the movie is so good. The characters and the story transcend the plot. In most horror films, and indeed in most suspense films of the Alfred Hitchcock tradition, the characters are at the mercy of the plot. In this one, they emerge as human beings actually doing these things."

Dave Kehr agreed, packing more than the usual number of insights into his capsule.  he notes the film's ties to the long tradition of "women's pictures" wherein the wife is terrorized by her husband (Gaslight, The Secret Beyond the Door, Dragonwyck, etc) and also that "The horror is more clinical than supernatural, as Polanski transforms Ira Levin's story into a metaphor for the loss of identity induced by pregnancy. A very sophisticated, very effective piece of work spun from primal images."

Renatta Adler was lukewarm on the film in the New York Times when it premiered.  But AO Scott has corrected the Times's position on the film by including it in his Critics' Picks video series:

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