Special Edition, Criterion Collection
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Terrifying and darkly comic, Rosemary’s Baby marked the Hollywood debut of Roman Polanski (Repulsion). This wildly entertaining nightmare, faithfully adapted from Ira Levin’s best seller, stars a revelatory Mia Farrow (Hannah and Her Sisters) as a young mother-to-be who grows increasingly suspicious that her overfriendly elderly neighbors, played by Sidney Blackmer (High Society) and an Oscar-winning Ruth Gordon (Harold and Maude), and self-involved husband (actor and filmmaker John Cassavetes) are hatching a satanic plot against her and her baby. In the decades of occult cinema Polanski’s ungodly masterpiece has spawned, it’s never been outdone for sheer psychological terror.
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The film viewed now in 2012 plays out the way I have always viewed it. I don't consider it a horror film but rather the best film of psychological suspense ever made. Young couple Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse move into a new apartment building and from there the atmosphere and subtle paranoid aura builds till the spellbinding conclusion. Acting all around is first rate but this film belongs to Mia Farrow who is incredible as the naive and suspicious Rosemary. She truly is Rosemary. This film never shows any gore or true horror and instead plays out with nerve shattering suspense as Rosemary puts pieces together. As the reality unfolds for Rosemary it also unfolds for the viewer and it is spellbinding and nail biting. This amazing film can sometimes be quite funny but always scary as we follow Rosemary on her inner journey. The viewer feels every emotion as Rosemary experiences it.
And now to the blu ray. Words cannot describe how amazing the 1080p video transfer appears. The grain is thankfully intact so the film looses none of its integrity and appears exactly as it was meant to be seen when first viewed. But now, far superior to any release before it, we get colors so realistic and vivid and bright they pop, flesh tones so natural that the viewer can finally see the paleness Rosemary gets as her pregnancy progresses and clarity that brings every facial line, piece of furniture and part of the scenery forward with vivid crispness. The contrast of the bright and cheery colors in the Woodhouse apartment and the darker tones in that of the Castevets with both in full detail is amazing. And the audio is just as strong. We get a lossless English LPCM 1.0 track and it works amazingly well. Dialogue throughout is crisp and clear, the musical score especially when the haunting title track plays is amazing. The audio fully brings the viewer into the whole experience.
And the film also comes with tons of extras including a brand new documentary with interviews with Mia Farrow, Roman Polanski and producer Robert Evans. Criterion has given a huge gift here to all Rosemary's Baby fans. If the true horror of the film has dated a little nothing else has. With superb acting and directing the paranoid atmosphere and suspense of this film lives on in all their glory. This is one of the scariest suspense films ever made and with the highest of kudos to Mia Farrow and Roman Polanski is a must own. And the blu ray is definitely the way to go.
The movie itself is a classic of contemporary horror. Instead of a creepy Gothic castle we have a coven of witches (actually Satanists) residing in an upscale Manhattan apartment building. This familiar, unexceptional setting leaves the viewer unprepared for the unrelenting creepiness that slowly seeps into the movie as it moves along. While deliberately paced, it never drags and is never boring.
The most amazing thing about it is the way it gets scarier with subsequent viewings. Seemingly inconsequential occurrences, that later prove to be significant moments in the story are even more unsettling the second, third, even fourth time around. The wardrobe that has been pushed into the closet, the momentary look of astonishment on Guy's face as his conversation with Roman is interrupted, even the "chalky undertaste" of the mousse are all more chilling when one realizes the story behind them.
Highly recommended for horror fans, though the movie has a very sharp sense of humor running through it as well. One of Polanski's best films.
The blu-ray transfer is top notch. Extras are good but missing a comprehensive audio commentary causing
the 4 instead of 5 star rating.
Film making at its BEST.