Where I Watched It: Amazon
Audio Description Provided By: Deluze
Narration By: Jedidiah Barton
I should probably address the fact that this is my first time through this film, which I admit is recognized as a classic. And, films that reach this status have done so because of years of scrutiny. Rosemary’s Baby has survived what many call the test of time, with critics far more important than me believing it to be a masterpiece. yes, it’s Roman Polanski, but we’re just going to move past that.
I never feel inclined to admit that I love all films predetermined as classics, and I do always try to put myself in the state of mind of how good was this film when it was initially released, instead of judging an older title against all the later titles I’ve already seen taht were initially inspired by this project. I do feel some shame every time a certain film comes up that I just can’t stand, that is regarded consistently as one of the best films of all time. And I hated it. And I’ve seen it many times. It never changes.
With Rosemary’s Baby, let’s just say, that somewhere down the line when I put out a list of my favorite, or a list of films I feel like need to be watched, this one will miss that mark. i can understand some of the elements and why the worked so well, especially given the period in which it was released.
Now, we are used to shocking material on an almost daily basis in our media. Back then, they were coming out of the Hayes Code, looking up at the sun, bleary eyed, and wondering just how far they could go, and whether the audience would go with them. The 60’s really started pushing these boundaries, but the 70’s blew these doors open. Rosemary’s Baby is a far cry from Hereditary, but the latter owes a lot to the former.
I think what didn’t work for me here was Mia farrow. And, no, this is not me just picking on Farrow for the sake of it. I just really never connected to her, even when her character was suppose to be a demure expectant mother, and while there were unnerving things happening around her, her performance got more and more over the top, but not in a good way. I don’t remember if the Polanski/Farrow dynamic was similar to the treatment that Stanley Kubrick gave to Shelly Duvall, submitting her to unnatural directorial techniques that damaged her actual psyche, but Farrow’s performance never felt like anything more than just her concept of what a Scream Queen should be. Duvall, turns in a performance that feels so real, because it is. She was actually losing her damn mind. Farrow? not so much.
And even though the creepy cultish vibe of Rosemary’s baby works, I spent the entire film wishing Rosemary herself would go away. I know there are a thousand critics that probably would disagree with me, but I think Farrow has been better in other projects, and those don’t quite have the untouchable status that Rosemary’s Baby has.
On an audio description note, this film has been somewhat well preserved or restored, so the audio track isn’t terrible, but it’s also one of those moments where you can tell it’s a super modern audio description laid out on top of an older audio track. I believe Jedidiah Barton can do no wrong, and the description here shows his consistency, but it can’t really be ignored the age difference between tracks.
It may be a classic to many, but to me, I think everyone involved has done something better, although it is really rather groundbreaking still for its time.
Final Grade: B