Pray For the Blu-ray of Rosemary’s Baby

Pray-for-Rosemary's-Baby

It’s always a thrill when some of the “greats” get a blu ray makeover, and “Rosemary’s Baby” is certainly one I’ve been looking forward to for some time. I have the DVD which was released some time ago. It’s very good, but the image is dirty, scratched with a thin crackly sound track that just didn’t do a film of this stature any justice.

The Bluray is distributed by the Criterion Collection who have proven themselves as master publishers of some of the greatest films every produced. Here’s what you can expect:

  • New, restored digital transfer, approved by director Roman Polanski, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • New documentary featuring interviews with Polanski, actress Mia Farrow, and producer Robert Evans
  • Interview with author Ira Levin from a 1997 broadcast of Leonard Lopate’s public radio program New York and Company, about his 1967 novel, its sequel, and the film
  • Komeda, Komeda, a feature- length documentary on the life and work of jazz musician and composer Krzysztof Komeda, who wrote the score for Rosemary’s Baby
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Ed Park; Levin’s afterword to the 2003 New American Library edition of his novel; and Levin’s rare, unpublished character sketches of the Woodhouses and floor plan of their apartment, created in preparation for the novel
The “3-Way” interview with Polanski, Farrow and Evans is exquisite and immensely satisfying.  If you’re new to RMB, then you’ll have everything you need to know about the making of this film. However, if you find you’re hungering for more, then my recommendation is to get your hands on the 2003 DVD release which has an original news reel that covers the film and has some great BTS as well.  If you have the 2003 DVD, and you love this movie as I do, do not get rid of it.
If, after watching the film and the features and find yourself hungry for more, I’ve gathered a few bits of back story on this film and the major players. RMB has a lineage and history that is as heart wrenching and blood soaked as the movie… maybe more.

RMB was the breaking point of Mia Farrow’s marriage to Frank Sinatra. She was supposed to do a movie with him, and he adamantly wanted her to do it.  Despite Sinatra’s best persuading, Farrow chose RMB.  As a result, Sinatra sent divorce papers to the studio lot. Farrow, although devastated, was able to continue through the support of Roman Polankski and his wife Sharon, actually living with them during production.

Of course we all know about the Manson murders – as it was Roman’s wife who, late in her pregnancy, was murdered by members of “The Family” along with several others at the Beverly Hills home of Polanksi. The slaughter of five that night was repeated by two more the following night. Upon their arrival to Polanksi’s home, one of the killers introduced themselves by saying, ”I’m the devil and I’m here to do the devil’s business.”

Polanski moved forward in his career, however, he was forever changed. He became reckless – and during a photo shoot supposedly arranged by Vogue magazine who contracted him to photograph beautiful young girls, he allegedly liquored up and doped a 14 year old girl, got her naked in a hot tub, took pictures and then committed statutory rape. Per Polanski she didn’t complain, I suppose in the same way Terry Shivo wouldn’t complain if she were raped. The cast grows to include Jack Nicholson who, although away at the time, allowed Polanski to use his house for his…photo shoot. However, his “Common law wife” Angelica Huston WAS there, and became state’s witness in the affair.

Polanski was indicted and sentenced. He made a deal with the DA to plead no contest and he would do 90 days in a CA prison, which he did. However, the judge at the time, who fancied himself a Hollywood player, made threats to change his mind after Polanski was released. As he was called back to court, Polanski hopped a plane bound for London and then Paris where he still resides today.

Recently while in Switzerland, Polanski was detained by the Swiss who intended to turn him over to US authorities. He walked, and during this time both the DA and the alleged victim went on the record stating that the whole issue should be dropped.

Polanski went on to make many more films including one that is a GREAT companion piece to RMB, The 9th Gate with Johnny Depp. The movie could be considered a sequel in the sense that revolves around the same crowd: aging elitist Satanists who long for diabolical power. Polanski has gone on to win the Motion Picture Academy’s Life Time Achievement award which he accepted while in France. Some protested the award stating that the Academy should not give a fugitive pedophile any affiliation or recognition…ironic whenn you consider how many other pedophiles have been academy members through the years. Charlie Chaplin for example.

Of all of the voices who felt the need to speak out, The View’s Whoopie Goldberg’s comments are outstanding. She defended Polanski at length by stating,C’mon it’s not like it was Rape – Rape!”

Finally, the “Bramford”. AKA The Dakota Apartment Building,  has no real record of witches.  However it is the site of one of the most notorious assassinations in the twentieth century – the murder of John Lennon. Lennon and his wife Yoko lived at the Dakota. It wasn’t unusual for people to stand outside and wait to catch a glimpse or get an autograph, and that’s exactly what Mark Steven Chapman did in December of 1980. Posing as a fan, he approached Lennon  as he left for a recording session with wife Yoko. Lennon left unscathed; Chapman waited.  Upon his return Chapman shot him right out in front of the gates of the Dakota, killing the him.

Almost immediately crowds descended upon the streets outside the Dakota which can be scene in video and pictures. The tall, daunting Dakota once again served as  the set to a real life horror story.

1.  Anton Lavey, founder of the church of Satan, was a technical consultant and actually appeared in the film as the eyes of Satan.

False – Lavey never made this claim, nor is he credited as either a technical consultant or as a cast member.

2.  Actress Patsy Kelly, who portrayed Laura Louise is the first “out” actress in Hollywood.

True - She was always upfront and public about her orientation which has been noted to have hurt her career.

3.  Tanis Root which is given to Rosemary in a charm and in her “vitamin” drink is actually called Devil’s Pepper and is a mold found in Europe and North America.

False – Tanis is rooted in the mind of the writer and is not real.

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