Continued from last week...
The film holds the audiences attention completely, without the use of explicit violence or gore, and this is a testament to how great the movie is, as it still holds the ability to scare and disturb. The horror remains for the most part, like in the novel, in the viewers mind. Along with Rosemary, they are suspicious at what could be happening. Also, if these things are happening, if a congregation of witches is after Rosemary’s baby, as she believes, then the film is made all the more believable by the way it is told.
The story unfolds like a good thriller, placing ideas in the audiences mind and letting the paranoia, or truth, rot in. Rosemary, with some help from her friend, Hutch (played beautifully by Maurice Evans), starts to believe that her creepy neighbors are witches and have been after her from the start of her pregnancy. Then, like a detective, Rosemary goes about finding out more information as the audiences, and Rosemary’s tension, builds by the minute. There are so many outstanding scenes in the film; it’s difficult to pick only a few. The film as a whole is a masterpiece.
Polanski uses fantastic cinematography and settings in the film. One standout is the setting for the huge and gothic Bramford apartment building. The actual building used for the Bramford was The Dakota, an Upper West Side apartment building known for its show business tenants, though for exterior shots only.
The score is memorable, haunting and lovely at the same time, with Mia Farrow humming the tune of the lullaby-esque music that opens and closes the film. Plus, the scene where Rosemary finally discovers the truth is not only complimented by Farrow’s fantastic acting, but by the psychedelic score which accompanies it. Both pieces of music stay with the viewer, as does the entire film; with its haunting, melancholy ending.
The dream and nightmare sequences are outstandingly realistic, and are also completely true to the novel. The scenes are some of the best dream like sequences ever captured in Hollywood.
The movie, of course, like ‘The Omen’ and ‘The Exorcist’ which were all released around this time delves into the idea of children as things of evil, or things desired by evil people. This plays on the minds of expectant mothers, or mothers with young children, and was a popular horror sub-genre. Plus, like the three movies mentioned, the formula works extremely well.
This is a superb classic in the horror genre, and also in the dramatic, as it deals with the characters developments and personal stories brilliantly – especially Rosemary’s. Above all, the film is a paranoid thriller; like Levin’s other works ‘The Stepford Wives’ and ‘Slither’, Levin relates to women brilliantly, especially those in suburban settings, who notice something very strange is going on in the most regular of places. This classic still scares and moves people now, and is an ageless classic.
It’s also one of only a handful of horror films which received high critical acclaim from award and honor ceremonies:
• Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress (Ruth Gordon, winner)
• Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay (nominee)
• Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture (Gordon, winner)
• Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama (Farrow, nominee)
• Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay (nominee)
• Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score (nominee)
• BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Mia Farrow, nominee)
• Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures (nominee)
• Writers Guild of America Award for Best Written American Drama (nominee)
• David di Donatello Award for Best Foreign Actress (Mia Farrow, winner)
• David di Donatello Award for Best Foreign Director (winner)
• Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Motion Picture Screenplay (nominee)
• French Syndicate of Cinema Critics Award for Best Foreign Film (winner)
• Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor (Sidney Blackmer, winner)
• Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress (Gordon, winner)
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