Rosemary’s Baby (2014) Blu-ray Review
For those of you familiar with the 1968 version of ROSEMARY’S BABY directed by Roman Polanski, let me get this out up front – this new presentation is not as intense as its predecessor. That being said, this made-for-television production does have a few good scares packed into it.
As the film begins we meet a young woman arguing with her husband. She throws a small locket onto the bed, climbs up onto the window ledge and steps off. Ouch!
Rosemary Woodhouse (Saldana) and her husband, Guy (Adams), have recently arrived in Paris, where a friend of Rosemary’s has been instrumental in getting Guy a position in the English department at the Sorbonne. They are making the best of their faculty apartment, though to describe it as cramped would be an understatement. While out for a walk Rosemary’s purse is snatched. She chases the thief and he eventually drops the bag. He also drops a wallet that doesn’t belong to Rosemary. She tracks down the owner, who lives in a beautiful and mysterious apartment building. Coincidentally (wink,wink) the wallet-owner’s husband is a big shot at the Sorbonne and she invites Rosemary and Guy to a party that evening. The young couple is overwhelmed by the attention paid to them and, before you know it, have found a vacant apartment in the same building. While moving in Rosemary finds a photo of a young woman. She also discovers a hidden door and, behind it, an unused nursery. Definitely the kind of things that make you go “hmmmm.”
The 1968 film had many things going for it, among them the fact that it was a true “first” when it came to major films dealing with Satan and his influence. 1974 would see THE EXORCIST hit screens and, after that, a host of films that dealt with Beelzebub. This was new to audiences and it rightfully scared the hell out of them. Almost five decades later, audiences have grown jaded and have adapted a “been there, seen that” attitude. Director Holland has taken the one advantage that Polanski shied away from and has mixed in a little blood and guts. Not gratuitously but to convey the horrors being perpetrated. She has changed some aspects of the original film (and Ira Levin’s novel), switching the location from New York City to Paris and Guy’s profession from aspiring actor to teacher. When unfortunate events begin to happen (after a murder/suicide Guy is put in charge of the English department) you know that someone has his claws in the mix.
The cast does a fine job, building their own characters instead of trying to mimic the work of the original actors. One change Holland has made is that the benefacting couple are no longer elderly (Jason Issacs and Carole Bouquet play the Castevets, roles originally played by Sidney Blackmer and Ruth Gordon, who won the Oscar for best supporting actress for her performance) but more the age of the Woodhouse’s. This gives the cast more opportunities to do more things together, which also helps move this almost 3-hour film along. Adams is solid in his portrayal of Guy and Saldana puts her own stamp on a very well-known character. Holland gives the film enough suspenseful moments to hold your attention, though the second half of the film feels like it could have been fleshed out more.
Video: Presented in its original 1:78.1 aspect ratio, the transfer is somewhat dark. Not having seen this when it originally ran, I’m not sure if the darkness was intentional to set the mood or if it’s just too dark in places. Even taking a stroll through Paris looks like every day is stormy.
Audio: Presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, the sound is delivered sharp and loud. Even quieter moments do not need a touch of the volume button.
Surprisingly, there are no deleted scenes so I guess there is nothing missing from the second act. Too bad.
Fear is Born: The Making of “Rosemary’s Baby” (12:04): A behind the scenes look at the creation of the film. Fair.
Grand Guignol: Paris Production Design (6:35): Much more interesting is this short featurette dealing with the various sets created for the film.