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Plot Details: This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not after you.

Rosemary's Baby

Plot Overview

“Rosemary's Baby” (1968) opens with a helicopter shot panning a NY city­scape, drop­ping down some high-rises to move back & take in some older apart­ments, then all the way down to street level & a foun­tain where we pick up a young couple apart­ment-hunting. A Negro elevator operator takes Guy and Rose­mary Wood­house (John Cassa­vetes & Mia Farrow) up with the building super who solicit­ously inquires: “Do you have child­ren?” ¶“We plan to,” they answer.

He explains the remodeling scheme: some of the big units were divided, and two servant quarters combined, to make various sized units. They are partic­ularly struck by one that had housed a sweet little old lady who “did a little gardening out­side” before she slipped into a coma and passed away. In rearranging the furniture, Rose­mary comes across a note Mrs. Gardenia had scrawled: I can no longer associate myself [with some­one or other.] She raised “herbs mostly.”

When they announce their plans to move there, their old friend & landlord Edward “Hutch” Hutchins (Maurice Evans), he tells them, “The Bram­ford had a rather poor reputation at the turn of the century.” There was reputed to be witch­craft there, dark arts practiced, and one Adrian Marcato who in the late 1890s claimed to have conjured up “the living Devil.” He was killed by a mob out­side the place that became known as Black Bramford.

Rosemary befriends a young woman Terry Gionoffrio (Victoria Vetri, aka Angela Dorian) in the laundry room who tells her she was taken in off the street by a helpful old couple in the building. Guy and Rose­mary meet that couple Roman (Sidney Blackmer) & Minnie (Ruth Gordon) Castevet in front of the building helping the police identify Terry who evidently was unhappy in her life (with the Castevets) and jumped from the window.

Turns out the Castevets live right on the other side of the partition from the Wood­houses and can be heard chanting at night. Minnie is the nosiest neighbor one could ever hope to not have, inquiring about all the details of their lives, and Roman is the earsiest, picking up on any­thing that is spoken. Due to some mysterious tie-in with them, Guy's acting career takes off—at the expense of a tragedy to his main rival Donald Baumgart (Tony Curtis)—in like manner as Terry had been helped by her association with them. With the increased financial security, the Wood­houses decide to make a baby, but Minnie's mousse that Rose­mary imbibes acts like a date-rape drug, and she has a hallucin­ation of relations with an incubus (“I dreamed some­one inhuman was raping me.”) She has a difficult pregnancy.

When the suspicions of Hutch get aroused, he does some research but mysteriously slips into a coma before he can get back to Rose­mary, yet he leaves her a book before he dies: All of Them Witches, and an anagram for her to decipher.

There was a 1962 “Twilight Zone” episode (season 3, episode 24), titled “To Serve Man,” in which a kindly alien race lands and begins to solve all of man­kind's problems. They take some lucky ones back to their home planet for an out-of-this-world adventure vacation. A couple decoders are at work trying to crack their book, To Serve Man, with no luck until the one shouts out to the other as he's about to board the space­craft, those unfor­get­table words: “It's a cook­book!” From the “Baby” in the title of RB, we can figure lapsed Catholic that she is (“I won't have an abortion!”) Rose­mary is as forced to carry her baby to term as was the code breaker to complete his space journey, and neither of them was very happy about what they learned.


Rosemary says, “I was brought up a Catholic … now, I don't know.” She has a suspicion about the Castevets (“We get friendly with an old couple like that, we'll never get rid of them”) but is late acting on it. Now, the Catholics have extra books in their Bible that the Protestants refer to as the Apocrypha, but even Protestants allow them­selves to use its wisdom books for guidance. Had Rose­mary kept up her faith, she might have been cog­nizant of: (Sirach 11:29) “Bring not every man into thine house: for the deceit­ful man hath many trains.”

Old Roman boasts about having visited every city that any­one can name. Like some kind of choo choo train, he's got inroads into all elements of society and can combine them together in a “United Mental Force” very hard to resist once he's got his foot in the door. As for Guy, “They gave him success, and he promised them our baby to use in their rituals.” Had Rose­mary main­tained her faith, she might have been a godly influence on Guy not to strive so hard for fleeting success, à la, (Matt. 6:31–33) “There­fore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Where­withal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the king­dom of God, and his righteous­ness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Production Values

“Rosemary's Baby” (1968) was written and directed by Roman Polanski, based on the novel Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin. It was Polanski's first U.S. movie and his first adaptation of a book. He stayed true to the text. From Levin's per­spec­tive it was perfect, including all the essentials and leaving out nothing important. From the industry's perspective, nobody had told Polanski he had permission to change things around. It was filmed at the Dakota in New York, the place where John Lennon was shot.

It stars Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, and Ruth Gordon who all performed well with a good supporting cast, too. It wasn't so much blatant horror as it was high creepiness, Holly­wood's attempt to wean folks away from their tame tele­visions. It's fairly long at 136 minutes. The lullaby sung at both beginning and end by Mia Farrow was composed by Krzysztof Komeda, as well as other creepy music he did. The cinema­tog­raphy was by William A. Fraker.

Review Conclusion w/ Consumer Recommendation

“Rosemary's Baby” was one creepy film, I'll say that much, it draws you in and there's a sad inevit­ability about it. Makes you realize there's Evil in this world, and that you should hold onto your faith while you've got it, and watch whom you associate with. The stuff night­mares are made of, it was well done and well worth the viewing.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Decent action scenes.

Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age.

Special effects: Well done special effects.

Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day.

Suspense: Don't watch this movie alone.

Overall product rating: Five stars out of Five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Apocryphal scripture taken from The Septuagint with Apoc­rypha: Greek and English. U.S.A.: Hendrick­son Pub. Originally published by Samuel Bagster & Sons, Ltd., London, 1851. Print, WEB.