Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

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Roman Polanski directs Mia Farrow, Ruth Gordon and John Cassavetes in this tale of a housewife impregnated by the satanists next door.

I’ve just finished reading Ira Levin’s excellent novel and this adaptation is oh so slavishly loyal, right down to the soft furnishings. I’ve enjoyed Polanski’s version before but this viewing proved just far too close to the bone to be as pleasurable. Possibly could be 15 minutes shorter – faithful doesn’t mean you can’t truncate and trim a little, Roman. And to modern eyes it’s a plot whose twist is the hook of the film. You can’t tell someone what Rosemary’s Baby is about without giving away the ending. Otherwise it is merely a film about pregnant woman with a distant husband, overbearing neighbours and a creepy dream sequence. Noticeably lacking the Grand Guignol set pieces of superior Omens and Exorcists that followed in its wake. Rosemary’s Baby is obviously more than that… the journey is a dark, ominous yarn in itself but you have to know the destination to get all its rich and twisted value. And having spent two weeks studying the map before going on it, dampened the adventure for me this particular time.

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