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Rosemary's Baby

Upon its release in June of 1968, Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby made a lot of money, garnered Ruth Gordon an Oscar for best supporting actress, and became a byword for horror, with many imitators or inspired successors in its wake, including The Exorcist and It's Alive. The subject came naturally to Polanski, that expert in the horrors of apartment dwelling (cf. Repulsion, The Tenant). In Rosemary's Baby, actor Guy (John Cassavetes) and housewife Rosemary Woodhouse (Mia Farrow) move into the vast, shambling Bramford (filmed in Manhattan's notorious Dakota). Their new neighbors are Roman Castevet (Sidney Blackmer) and his wife Minnie (Gordon). Their predecessor, an old lady, died; and one of Rosemary's new friends, Terry Gionoffrio (Victoria Vetri), a homeless drug-addict taken in by the Castevets, makes remarks about her situation that alert the viewer's suspicions. When Terry ends up flinging herself from the Castevet's apartment window, it's pretty clear that something is up. Rosemary's Baby is an unusual horror film. Almost nothing horrific happens in it and hardly anything terrible is seen. Polanski, as is his wont, takes Ira Levin's bestseller and turns it into a slow-paced, creepy chamber-drama, a film of looks, of suspicions, of complex relationships, and of subtle wit. Paramount's DVD edition is a must for fans. While the source print for the transfer is slightly faded (though Polanski also probably instructed DP William Fraker to use muted colors) and there are some scratches and other blemishes visible on occasion, the image is a solid anamorphic widescreen transfer (1.85:1) with audio in the original mono (DD 2.0). Features include a 16-minute section of interviews with Polanski, producer Robert Evans, and production designer Richard Sylbert, which were made for this DVD, and a 20-minute "making-of" feature shot in 1968. Keep-case.
—Gregory P. Dorr

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