****/**** Image A- Sound A- Extras B-
starring Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon, Ralph Bellamy
based on the novel by Ira Levin
written for the screen and directed by Roman Polanski
by Walter Chaw Rosemary is everything. He's just Guy. It's that tension--between a woman fully actualized and a man forever frustrated, the Grail vs. the Knights of the Round Table--that serves as the tightrope in Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby. As portrayed by Mia Farrow, Rosemary is precious and flawed, full of life and surrounded by death. She is the venerated object, the cathedral she imagines the night she's drugged and violated; the most precious thing, the sanctified earth planted with the pestilential corruption of masculine ambition. Rosemary's Baby opens with a lengthy consideration of the buildings that surround Central Park like vultures in their priestly black, voracious and solemn, gathered around a carcass that is, in this configuration, the sole hint of life in a metal savannah. Polanski is a genius of architecture and the consideration of it. His spaces are predatory, or at least become so: "Forget it, Jake, it's Chinatown" and the apartment that sprouts hands from its walls and, here in Rosemary's Baby, the "Black Bramford." He puts pretty blondes into the maw of his constructions--sacrifices to the Minotaur wandering through his Labyrinth--and watches them get swallowed by the Stygian black. He is the Minotaur. The pitch is his, along with the appetites. Rosemary's Baby is his masterpiece, as well as one of the greatest films about what women endure in a world that sees them as seed incubators, nesting fowl, and finally trophies: meek and pretty. But Rosemary isn't meek, simply outmatched, surrounded, flanked by the men she's supposed to be able to trust.