Σάββατο, 8 Δεκεμβρίου 2012

Rosemary’s Babe (Roman Polanski, 1968)

Rosemary's Baby Roman Polanski’s masterpiece

Rosemary's Baby is considered among the most significant horror movies and the corn stone for satanic cinema. It was produced and distributed by Paramount Pictures and William Castle Enterprises in 1968. Rosemary’s Baby was directed and written by the first time Hollywood director Roman Polanski and the plot structure of the film is based on a Gothic bestseller book with the same name by Ira Levin. Rosemary’s Babe is among the horror blockbuster movies and among the few horror movies to win an Oscar

The plot structure of Rosemary's Baby

Rosemary’s Babe is a film about witchcraft and Satanism but the Satanist appear to audience as older characters and very friendly to audience. The plot structure is based on the revelation of a conspiracy against an innocent young woman, Rosemary, who has just married an actor Guy and they move to their new flat in New York. At the first minutes of the film Rosemary is very happy with her new neighbors and she is invited with her husband for a dinner by Minnie and Roman Castevet. During their dinner Rosemary tastes a chocolate pudding and after few minutes she feels dizzy and she sleeps.
She had a weird dream as she is surrounded by naked chanters and her husband changes shapes between a demonic and a human figure. Finally at the end of the dream she is rapped by a demon. Next morning Rosemary is covered with scratches and she needs to visit a doctor.
Rosemary starts to realize that her environment is not so friendly as it seems, she believes that there is something dangerous very well hidden behind the mask of politeness and friendliness. Rosemary learns she is pregnant but she is in pain and she starts loosing weight. The Castevets recommend to Rosemary Dr. Sapirstein who advise her to drink a herbal mixture and he tells Rosemary to not worry.
Hutch is former landlord and Rosemary’s friend, he visits her and he worries because the appearance of Rosemary. Hutch wants to see Rosemary again but he doesn’t show up at the appointment he is in coma. Rosemary is in pain and wants a second opinion from another doctor and wants to visit another doctor, but her husband Guy refuses to pay.
Few days later Rosemary learns that Hutch is dead at his funeral friends of Hutch give a book to her bought by Hutch. Rosemary reads the book and she discovers that Roman Catsevet her friendly old neighbor is the son of black magician Adrian Marcato and Rosemary believes that her husband participates in a coven of Magicians who want to sacrifice her babe. Here husband Guy destroys the book. Rosemary packs her bags and leaves she is heading to Dr. Sapirstein but she is suspicious about him and she changes her rout to Dr. Hill another doctor recommended by Rosemary but Dr. Hill calls Dr. Sapirstein and Guy who appear to drive her back to her apartment, she escapes but she is soon sedated.
Next day Dr. Sapirstein announces to Rosemary that her babe died but Rosemary doesn’t believe him. Later she finds the entire coven gathered around her babe in the flat of Castevets. Roman Catsevets announces to her that hers babe is the Devil’s son.

Deeper thoughts about Rosemary’s Baby plot structure

As I have already mention the film is based on the novel of Ira Levin which was a huge publishing success as the hardback stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for 41 weeks.

The main issues of the plot structure can be recognized as the discovery by the main female character of a betrayal. Everyone in her new life after marriage is a witch and her husband Guy betrayed her for fame and money and finally that her bay is Satan’s son.

Also, the main struggle and conflict in the film is developed around the struggle of Rosemary (main female character) to retain her sanity in an unfriendly, unknown and alien environment.

There is also an unanswered question left to audience to develop the Rosemary’s Babe mythology – Will Rosemary accept the child as her own?

The main persons behind the “Rosemary’s Baby” film

Roman Polanski wrote and directed the film which is based on Ira Levin’s novel. The film was produced by William Castle. Director of Photography was William A. Fraker, the production design was mad by Richard Sylbert, art director of the film is Joel Schiller and responsible for costumes was Athea Sylbert. The film was edited by Sam O’ Steen and Bob Wyman. The score of the film was composed by Krzysztof Komeda and the sound was recorded by Harold Lewis.

The cast of “Rosemary’s BabY”

Roman Polanski wanted to work with old Hollywood and friendly to audience actors and obviously many familiar faces were cast against type as an example I can mention the fact that Satanists were all played by friendly character actors a subversion of expectations.

Mia Farrow performs the part of Rosemary (the main female character) was elected by Roman Polanski because he was impressed by the star’s vulnerability and also she had the look of the “robust, healthy, all – American girl”. Mia Farrow after “Rosemary’s Baby” stared also in other horror pictures as “Blind Terror” (1971) and “Full Circle” (1977) and finally she joined Woody Allen’s repertory team.

Guy is the main male character initially Roman Polanski showed the script to Warren Beatty but he rejected the proposal. Robert Redford was interested but Paramount Studios had a different opinion, also Jack Nicholson was interested, but Roman Polanski believed that he was not so recognized band known to audience at the time of production and finally the actor and independent film director John Cassavetes suggested himself to the producer of the film William Castle and Roman Polanski agreed.

Beyond the main characters Ruth Gordon performs the part of Minnie Castevet, Sidney Blackmer performs the part of Roman Castevet, Maurice Evans performs the part of Hutch, Ralph Bellamy performs the part of Dr. Sapirstein, Angella Dorian performs the part of Terry, Patsy Kelly plays the part of Laura Louise, Elisha Cook performs the part of Mr Nicklas, Emmaline Henry plays the part of Elise Dunstan, Marianne Gordon performs the part of Joan Jellicoe and also in the film participate Philip Leeds, Charles Grodin, Hope Sumnmers, Wende Wagner, William Castle.

Cameo in the film “Rosemary’s Babe”

The producer of the film William Castle has a cameo as he appears outside of a phone booth and alarms Rosemary.  

The Production of the film “Rosemary’s babe”


Initially the film was scheduled for a 50 days shot both in New York and Los AngelesCalifornia. The main shots in New York took place in Bramford – New York and especially in Dakota apartment bloc a reputedly haunted place in big apple. It’s very interesting to highlight the fact that John Lennon was shot outside of this building on 1 December of 1980. The dream sequence and the opening sequence was shot on a watch at Play del Ray marina near Santa Monica California.  

The initial budget of the film was about $1,9 million but cause of four weeks delay it was finally finished four weeks over schedule and $ 400.000 over budget.

Roman Polanski preferred to retain some ambiguity in the film and to create a subjective focus on the film, audience watches the film and the entire story as seen through the eyes of Rosemary and it could have been a chain of only superficially sinister coincidences and a product of her feverish fantasies”.

The soundtrack of the “Roseamary’s Baby”

Krystof Komeda was a polish doctor who used to compose music in his spare time. Roman Polanski persuaded him to take up music and composing full time. Komeda wrote the scores for all movies of Roman Polanski up to Rosemary Baby except the film Repulsion.

The Release of Rosemary’s Baby

Rosemary Baby was a huge commercial success by crossing more that $ 30 million and became one of the most successful horror films ever. Also Rosemary’s baby is among the few horror films to win an Oscar for second female role to 71 years old Ruth Gordon who performed the part of Minnie Castevet.

Rumors about Rosemary’s babe

Anton La Vey founder of the Church of Satan circulated rumors by claiming that he was employed to perform the devil in the rape scene and as well to provide technical expertise and advice. La Vey’s claims collapsed when crew members deny his participation in the rape scene. Also, the composer of the film Komeda died in 1969 and according to rumors the production of the film was cursed. Later the producer of the film William Castle uremic poisoning and the murder Sharon Tate’s mother, according to rumors were results of the curse.

On the following video you can watch the trailer of the film “Rosemary’s Babe”

Elias Stoikos       
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