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Entries in Roman Polanski (17)

Monday
Aug052019

Great Moments in Horror Actressing

by Jason Adams

It's hard not to walk out of Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood without Sharon Tate on your mind. Whether it's because you thought the film needed more of what Margot Robbie was serving or if like me it's because you thought what Robbie did serve was A+ First Class stuff, the specter of that real woman, rightfully, lords over the entire experience. Sharon Tate only got to make six films before she was murdered, and two of them were horror films -- not an unlikely statistic for any young beautiful actress, but one that's linked itself arm in arm with Tate's fate nonetheless. 

I've never seen her 1967 British occult flick Eye of the Devil, which had her playing a witch opposite David Niven and Deborah Kerr. But I've seen her other horror flick of that same year, Roman Polanski's The Fearless Vampire Killers, more times than I can count, and it's Tate's under-valued performance that I always think of when I think of the film. She's barely in it but she walks away with it -- a pale fire piled in soap bubbles and snow...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jun152018

Rosemary's Baby Pt 3: All of Them Witches

50th Anniversary Three-Part Mini-Series
Occasionally we'll take a movie and baton pass it around the team.

In Part One Seán McGovern sang the praises of Oscar winning Ruth Gordon as nosey neighbor Minnie to Mia Farrow's iconic Rosemary. The apartment is a find for Rosemary and her husband Guy (sleazy John Cassavettes) but the Bramford sure has sinister tenants.

In Part Two Jason Adams eyed fascinating visual details as the perversions mount and Rosemary becomes emaciated and pale -- aren't pregnancies supposed to make you fill out and glow? As we pick back up Rosemary has just left the funeral of Hutch. He left her a book and a cryptic message "the name is an anagram." 

Part 3 by Nathaniel R

1:26:00 Rosemary never gets a moment to herself. Home from the funeral she barely has time to hang up her hat and throw off her shoes and the doorbell is wringing. I'll give you one guess as to who it is. 

Minnie, yup. Notice how chalky that drink is *wretches* and how much Ruth Gordon is doing in every scene including this brief one, conveying just how watchful, manipulative, and blasphemous Minnie is  -- "Grace, one of my favorite names" -- underneath all the old-lady eccentricity, flashy clothing, and innocuous chatter. 

1:27:00 Hutch wrapped the book up tightly like a gift, but it's not a pleasant one...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jun142018

Rosemary's Baby Pt 2: This is Really Happening!

Rosemary's Baby print by Jonathan Burton. For sale here.50th Anniversary Three-Part Mini-Series
Occasionally we'll take a movie and baton pass it around the team and really dive in. 

Rosemary's Baby (1968) is 50 years old now but it feels both ancient and fresh. It's always alive when you watch it. Having seeped into the very DNA of both the movies and our nightmares, it deserves a deep dive. In Part One by Seán McGovern we watched as Rosemary (Mia Farrow) and Guy Woodhouse (John Cassavettes) moved into a strange new apartment building, saw a neighbor mysteriously die, and become socially entangled with an intrusive neighbor couple Minnie and Roman Castavet (Ruth Gordon and Sydney Blackmer), who are both eccentrically endearing and very possibly sinister. 44 minutes into the film we can scratch out "very possibly" and just make that sinister. Full stop. We return to Rosemary just as we realize she's been drugged by Minnie's chocolate mousse "mouse" and has begun to dream... - Editor

Part 2 by Jason Adams


44:21 It seems appropriate to jump right in in the middle of a dream about to turn nightmare, for what else is Rosemary's Baby but that?

44:21 So much of this sequence will come back to haunt us later when Rosemary makes her final horrific discovery...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jun142018

Rosemary's Baby Pt 1: Tannis, anyone?

50th Anniversary Three-Part Mini-Series
Occasionally we'll take a movie and baton pass it around the team and really dive in. If you missed past installments we've gone long and deep on RebeccaSilence of the LambsThelma & LouiseWho's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, and A League of Their Own. Now... Rosemary's Baby - Editor

 

Part 1 by Seán McGovern

I'm delighted to take you through Part 1 of Rosemary's Baby, a terrifying personal favourite. 

 

00:01 William Castle, who in the pantheon of horror was basically a schlock-jock, produced the film but according to Mia Farrow, Castle was at one point going to direct. What would the outcome of that have been? Potentially not the paranoid horror we revere today but maybe something more gimmicky. William Castle was portrayed by John Waters in Ryan Murphy's Feud: Bette & Joan, and if that's not a fitting tribute I don't know what is.

01:00 In these short two minutes of opening credits are also the names of some of the twentieth century's best character actors: Ruth Gordon, Charles Grodin and Ralph Bellamy. The theme melody is la-la-la'ed by Mia Farrow herself, giving that girlish tone a chill that you'll also be humming all day...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun122017

Beauty vs Beast: The Men In Rosemary's Life

Jason from MNPP here on another Monday afternoon with another round of our weekly "Beauty vs Beast" series - today happens to be the 49th anniversary of my favorite movie Rosemary's Baby. Roman Polanski's masterpiece (one of his several masterpieces) was dropped from beak of the devil's stork into the world on June 12th 1968, a wailing bundle of joy (with its father's eyes) that became the 8th biggest film of the year, scoring over 33 million at the box office (aka 230 million in 2017 dollars, putting it on par with what Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them made last year) and forever giving pregnant woman something shiny and new to worry themselves about. (All of them witches!)

This being my favorite film we've already devoted one of these columns to it - we faced off the womenfolk with Rosemary (Mia Farrow) taking on Minnie (Ruth Gordon) last fall. Gordon won, same as the Oscars. So this time around let's turn our attentions to their respective partners! There's no time like Right Now for "Sleazy White Men Who Think They Own Women's Reproductive Organs" after all, so I give you Guy Woodhouse (John Cassavetes), star of "Nobody Loves an Albatross" and a world-class creep, and Roman Castavet (Sidney Blackmer), door to door Satan salesman. Choose wisely, your womb will thank you...

PREVIOUSLY We took a quick trip to the Moors last weekend to put poor Jane Eyre through the wringer again but in the end Mia Wasikowska came out on top (and who wouldn't want to come out on top of Michael Fassbender) with 58% of your vote. Said Nick T:

"I'm so happy to cheer for Jane. It's a great performance (yay Mia!), and if Jane won't act as her own hype man then I'll happily do it tor her."

Monday
Oct172016

Beauty vs Beast: Which of the Woods

Jason from MNPP here seizing the moment with this week's edition of "Beauty vs Beast" -- well, seizing one of many moments, but not only moments, because if life were only moments then we'd never know we had one. You know how it goes. Anyway this moment, this one of many not only, is the birthday of the director Rob Marshall, who makes magical movies that, uh... defy description. Like Into the Woods, perhaps? Yes, we are in the right story.

PREVIOUSLY Here it is a week later and I'm still pretty shocked it took me over 125 editions of this series to get to my favorite movie Rosemary's Baby - but who won? Well you guys sided with the Devil, just like the Oscars did, and gave the prize to Ruth Gordon's Minnie Castavet and her eternally chalky undertaste - said Marsha Mason:

"I think Ruth had the greater acting accomplishment. Mia was good at being afraid, but Ruth pulled off "loud old NYC lady in league with Satan," succeeding in making her both hilarious, outspoken and very creepy. She reminds me of Barbara Bush that way."