Tonight at Bem Mozi: Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Running on empty. Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby.

In 2010, I visited New York City.

It was my first time in The Big Apple.

One of my many stops on this trip was to the ominous Dakota Building.

The Dakota has a unique history.

Mark David Chapman gunned down John Lennon outside the building’s entrance in 1980.

Despite (or because of) it’s macabre past my thoughts immediately turned to Rosemary’s Baby on my stateside jaunt.

The Dakota doubles as The Bamford building in the movie.

Roman Polanski’s adaptation of Ira Levine’s book of the same name propelled horror into the mainstream.

Now any article concerning Polanski or a Polanski film would be doing very well to ignore the director’s legal issues.

As we all know, Polanski was convicted of raping a 13-year-old girl. Since 1978, he has been a fugitive of the law.

We won’t say any more about that.

Let’s get into why we are all here.

After recently purchasing an apartment in The Bamford Building, Rosemary Woodhouse (Mia Farrow) & her husband Guy (John Cassavetes)begin a new life & attempt to start a family.

As always in these type of tales things don’t quite go to plan.

Guy is a struggling actor who it seems will do anything for success.

The young couple befriend their oddball neighbor’s Roman (Sidney Blackmer) & Minnie Castavet (Ruth Gordon).

The Castavet’s appear to be everything that Guy & Rosemary are looking for. They are protective. Parental.

After Rosemary becomes pregnant, almost overnight Guy’s career begins to take off.

Without giving too much away, Rosemary begins to suspect that the Castavet’s are a part of a witches’ coven. She also believes she is carrying Satan’s spawn.

Is it all in her head or was she betrayed by her beloved husband in exchange for material success?

Guy is execrable & meretricious.

Cassavetes performance is near perfection.

It’s impossible to take our eyes off Gordon as the overwrought & sinister, Minnie. She went on to win an Oscar for this role.

The real star of the show is Farrow.

Rosemary goes from being feckless & hysterical to taking control of her own destiny.

Polanski’s skill is evident as he ratchets up the tension, slowly & deliberately.

He doesn’t give much away too soon.

Is Rosemary slowly losing her mind, much like Catherine Deneuve in Polanski’s Repulsion or are her fears grounded in reality?

Rosemary’s baby explores sexual politics , loneliness & a woman’s right to choose in late 60s New York.

What’s more it is utterly terrifying.

Fun fact:

Mia Farrow’s son Roman is a journalist who broke the Harvey Weinstein story in a series of New Yorker Articles. Roman’s father is revered director, Woody Allen.

Rosemary’s Baby will be shown tonight at 21 pm.

All the details can be found here: Bem Mozi info