Rosemary’s Baby is one of my favorite films. Once I read the book I realized that the film followed it pretty closely. In some scenes, word for word. So taking it to the ultimate meta I guess, I decided to listen to the film’s Rosemary, Mia Farrow, read the classic horror novel by Ira Levin. She did not disappoint. Her interpretation helped me see the story through Rosemary’s eyes. Farrow ably portrays the extremely naive Rosemary, who is starstruck by her ambitious actor husband Guy. She follows along in his wake as they get a too-good-to-be-true apartment on the Upper West Side. They are soon quasi-adopted by nosy neighbors Minnie and Roman Castavet and the other mostly senior citizen neighbors in the building. The only fly in the ointment – the hungry for a career breakthrough Roman doesn’t seem too interested in starting a family. Until one evening, after having a truly awful-tasting dinner with Roman and Minnie, he suddenly does. Now Rosemary has everything she could possibly want – a handsome husband, fabulous new home in the heart of New York City and the prospects of a growing family. What could possibly go wrong?
Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
Mia Farrow in a scene from the classic horror film Rosemary’s Baby
Rosemary’s friend, the erudite Hutch, comes to visit and notices that everything isn’t quite right with Rosemary and Guy’s new neighbors the Castavets. He isn’t too thrilled about the building they moved into, the Bramford (based on the Dakota), either. It may be impressive architecturally, but its history isn’t – it was also the home of some crazy devil-worshippers, witchcraft and even murder. You know, a typical New York apartment building. But young lovers Rosemary and Guy shrug such stories off. The past is so far away. It’s 1967 New York, modern times. Nobody believes in witches anymore, right?
Rosemary discovers she is pregnant and is thrilled, and even Guy seems so too, but she soon starts to develop a persistent nagging pain in her abdomen. Will everything be OK with her baby? And why has Guy become so distant? Farrow seems to enjoy revisiting the classic story that catapulted her to fame. Rosemary’s Baby is a horror classic for a good reason, the perfect read (and listen) for the Halloween season.