Rosemary's Baby (1968)


Rosemary's Baby is a 1968 American horror film written and directed by Roman Polanski, based on the bestselling 1967 novel by Ira Levin. The cast includes Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon, Maurice Evans, Sidney Blackmer, and Charles Grodin. Farrow plays an expecting mother who fears that her husband may have made a pact with their eccentric neighbours, believing he may have promised them the child to be used as a human sacrifice in their occultic rituals in exchange for success in his acting career. The film received mostly positive reviews and earned numerous nominations and awards. The American Film Institute ranked the film 9th in their 100 Years…100 Thrills list. The official tagline of the film is "Pray for Rosemary's Baby."


Rosemary Woodhouse (Mia Farrow), a bright but somewhat naive young housewife, and Guy (John Cassavetes), her husband and a struggling actor, move into the Bramford, a Gothic, 19th century New York City apartment building with a history of unsavory tenants and mysterious events. Their neighbors, Minnie and Roman Castevet (Ruth Gordon and Sidney Blackmer), are an elderly and slightly eccentric couple who tend to be meddlesome but appear to be harmless. Guy first loathes them but then becomes unusually close to the pair while Rosemary tries to maintain a distance from them. Guy lands a role in a play when the actor who had been originally cast suddenly and inexplicably goes blind. Soon afterward, Guy suggests that he and Rosemary have the child they had planned. On the night they planned to try to conceive, Minnie brings them individual ramekins of chocolate mousse, but Rosemary finds hers has a chalky under-taste and surreptitiously throws it away after a few mouthfuls. Shortly afterwards, she has a dizzy spell and passes out. Rosemary experiences what she perceives to be a strange dream in which there is a group of naked persons in their bedroom (the Castevets and other tenants of the Bramford) and then she is raped by a demonic presence. The dream is vivid enough that she exclaims near the end, "This is no dream -- this is really happening!" When she wakes, she finds scratches on her body, and her husband admits that he had intercourse with her while she was unconscious because he didn't want to pass up the moment for her to conceive. A few weeks later, Rosemary learns she is pregnant and is due on June 28, 1966 (6/66). She plans to receive obstetric care from Dr. Hill (Charles Grodin), recommended to her by her friend Elise (Emmaline Henry), but the Castevets insist she see their good friend, famed obstetrician Dr. Abraham Sapirstein (Ralph Bellamy). For the first three months of her pregnancy, Rosemary suffers severe abdominal pains, loses weight, becomes unusually pale and craves raw meat and chicken liver. The doctor insists the pain will subside soon and assures her she has nothing to worry about. When her old friend Edward "Hutch" Hutchins (Maurice Evans), who had warned the Woodhouses against renting in the Bramford at the beginning, sees Rosemary's gaunt appearance and hears that she is consuming the mysterious "tannis root" on a daily basis, he is disturbed enough to do some research. On the day Hutch plans to share his findings with her, he mysteriously falls into a coma a few hours before their meeting, and dies three months later. After briefly regaining consciousness before his death, he has instructed the doctor to have a book about witchcraft, which he had left on his desk, be given to Rosemary. Grace Cardiff, a friend of his, decides to have the book delivered to Rosemary. She was able to give it to Rosemary at Hutch's funeral along with the cryptic message: "the name is an anagram". At the Castavets' New Year's Eve party, Roman raises an equally cryptic toast: "To 1966: the Year One." Rosemary sees that Hutch has marked photographs and passages in the book. Using the clue given to her in the cryptic message, Rosemary uses a Scrabble game to work out several anagrams until she realizes that Roman Castevet is really Steven Marcato, the son of Adrian Marcato, a former resident of the Bramford who was accused of being a witch and of worshiping Satan and was a martyr to the cause. Rosemary suspects her neighbors are part of a cult with sinister designs for her baby, and Guy is cooperating with them in exchange for their help in advancing his career. She deduces that Dr. Sapirstein is also part of the conspiracy when his receptionist comments that the smell coming from a good luck charm given to Rosemary by the Castavets — which contains tannis root, also known as "Devil's Pepper" — reminds her of a fragrance often shared by the doctor. An increasingly disturbed Rosemary shares her fears and suspicions with Dr. Hill, who, assuming she is delusional, calls Dr. Sapirstein and Guy. She is told by them that if she cooperates, she and the baby will not be harmed. The two men bring Rosemary home, at which point she briefly escapes them by spilling the contents of her purse, then hijacking the elevator as they gather the contents from the floor. They pursue her to the apartment, where Rosemary locks the door. A few moments later, they enter the bedroom, having somehow gained access. Rosemary goes into labor. She's sedated by Dr. Sapirstein and when she awakens, she's told the baby died. However, when she hears an infant's cries somewhere in the building, she suspects he is still alive. In the hall closet, Rosemary discovers a secret door leading into the Castevet apartment where the coven meets (and which explains how Guy and Dr. Sapirstein were able to enter the apartment after she chained the front door), and finds the congregation gathered around her newborn son. Seeing the disturbing appearance of her baby's eyes and demanding to know what had caused the deformity, Rosemary is then told that Guy is not the baby's father. The revelation that the baby, named Adrian, is actually the spawn of Satan horrifies Rosemary, who spits in Guy's face when he approaches her. Roman urges Rosemary to become a mother to her son. The film ends with her adjusting her son's blankets and gently rocking his cradle.