Roman Polanski's 1968 film version of Ira Levin's bestseller is one of the finest horror films ever made. Polanski adapted Levin's terrifying novel of ancient evil in a modern setting with every thrill intact. He filmed on location in NYC, and he somehow managed to convey a sense of claustrophobia and quiet panic on busy streets and sidewalks. To create suspense is very difficult; to sustain that suspense for 2 hours and 16 minutes is all but impossible. But he did it, with the help of excellent photography and production design, a wonderfully creepy musical score, and a terrific cast. Mia Farrow is simply magnificent as Rosemary, and she's matched by John Cassavetes, Sidney Blackmer, Maurice Evans, Oscar-winner Ruth Gordon, and an A-list of Broadway veterans. From start to finish, it is a perfect film.
Like so many other great movies, ROSEMARY'S BABY was suffering the ravages of time, and earlier VHS and DVD releases prove it. The print was fuzzy, the colors were faded, and the sound had a muffled, indistinct quality. Now, the wonderful folks at the Criterion Collection have done something about it. The picture and sound have been newly remastered from original materials, and they've added a lot of extras as well. I'm very grateful for the Criterion Collection--they've already rescued and improved hundreds of classic titles, and they're still going strong. ROSEMARY'S BABY is the latest addition to an impressive list of Criterion gems on DVD and BluRay. On behalf of film fans and collectors everywhere, I thank them.
PS: Polanski is still going strong, too. If you haven't seen The Ghost Writer
yet, check it out. It's another perfect thriller.