Rosemary's Baby 1968 Criterion Collection
Roman Polanski’s (Carnage; The Pianist; Chinatown) 1968 Hollywood debut Rosemary's Baby introduced the already established European director of such psychological dramas as Repulsion to an American market with a similar journey through a woman’s madness. This time around, however, the journey would take on more supernatural leanings, and Rosemary’s Baby, based on the novel by Ira Levin, would also lead the way for the horror/thrillers of the 1970s such as The Exorcist and The Omen.

Starring a waifish Mia Farrow straight from her Peyton Place role in the titular role as Rosemary, the film follows the Woodhouses, Guy (John Cassavetes; A Woman Under the Influence) and Rosemary as they move into a new apartment in Manhattan, the historic building carrying a long history of gruesome deaths. Their nosy elderly neighbors inveigle their way into the Woodhouse’s lives. When Rosemary becomes pregnant – the implication being that Rosemary has been raped by the devil himself as we see in an earlier nightmare sequence – Rosemary becomes increasingly suspicious about her neighbors, her doctor, and even her husband, suspecting they want to steal her baby and use it for satanic rituals.

What makes Rosemary’s Baby so effective, however, is the fact that the film’s focus is rarely on anything supernatural. As a viewer we are forced to question right up to the very end whether Farrow’s character Rosemary is truly being targeted by supernatural forces, or if she is just a woman knocked of center by her new circumstances and in the midst of a breakdown. Polanski, already a master at such topics by this time, builds the tension masterfully through his use of the camera, the eerie jazz-inspired score from Krzysztof Komeda, and a breakout performance from Farrow herself.

Director: Roman Polanski
Cast: Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon, Sidney Blackmer, Maurice Evans
Country: USA
Genre: Drama, Horror

BD50 + 2xDVD9 | 1080p AVC, NTSC | 02:16:58 | 44.2 Gb + 14.1 Gb + 3% rec
Language: English
Subtitles: English

Extras:

Remembering Rosemary's Baby - in this outstanding new documentary, director Roman Polanski, actress Mia Farrow, and producer Robert Evans recall their work on Rosemary's Baby before and after the shooting of the film and discuss its success. Roman Polanski's comments about his approach to working with actors (and specifically his work with Mia Farrow, which was apparently very similar to his work with Catherine Deneuve in Repulsion) are particularly interesting. The factual information in these interviews is indeed quite illuminating. The interviews were conducted for Criterion in 2012. In English, not subtitled. (47 min, 1080p)

Ira Levin and Leonard Lopate - in September 1997, author Ira Levin appeared on Leonard Lopate's WNYC radio program New York and Company to discuss his new novel, Son of Rosemary, the sequel to Rosemary's Baby. During that segment, the two leads also talked about Ira Levin's original novel, the film, and the author's other acclaimed work in film, television, and theater. The segment from the radio program is presented here. In English, not subtitled. (20 min, 1080p).

Komeda, Komeda - an excellent documentary film on the life and work of Polish jazz musician and composer Krzysztof Komeda which was produced for Polish television in 2012. Krzysztof Komeda, who died in 1969, was a longtime associate of Roman Polanski and composed the scores for a number of his films, including Two Men and a Wardrobe, Cul-De-Sac, and Rosemary's Baby. In Polish, with optional English subtitles. (71 min, 1080i).

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