This last weekend I watched the first film from my list of movies that I plan on checking out this fall. Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby (1968) has been one of those movies that I’ve always heard about, and I’ve always been aware of its place of importance in psychological horror films. I remember my mother talking about how disturbed she was when she saw it as a girl. For whatever reason, maybe the weirdness factor that the film has going for it, I just never watched it.
By the way, in no way am I intending this to be a review of the film. For a basic synopsis and further information about the film check out the Wikipedia and IMDb pages. Rosemary’s Baby did, however, inspire some rambling and blabbering below.
A snowy aerial view of The Dakota Building. Photo courtesy of http://blog.daum.net/jun1234/78.
The Dakota Building in Manhattan.
From the very beginning, with the beautiful shots high above Manhattan in New York City, I was sucked into the style and the setting of most of the film. Even though I followed the plot and the story, I wasn’t much interested, actually. I was too busy absorbing the beauty of the apartments and the interior of the fictional “Bramford” building. The filmmakers wanted to film the interior shots inside the beautifully upscale and historic Dakota Building in Manhattan, but in the end they weren’t allowed, forcing them to film in a studio and use The Dakota for exterior shots only. I want to assume that they based the design of the set on the actual Dakota. The building, constructed between 1880 and 1884, is just the type and style of architecture that I fall in love with. And even though the movie takes place in the 1960s, it is clear that the apartments in the film are meant to be outdated and misplaced for the time period. The main characters (played by Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes) “update” their apartment with a fresh coat of white paint soon after moving in, but I actually preferred the darkness of the walls and wallpaper, the ornate trim, the glow of the wall sconces, and the dusty shelves and books. Fortunately, the older neighbors are stuck in the past, so for much of the movie I got to stay in that turn of the century “excuse me while I retire to my study” world.
Ruth Gordon (1896 – 1985)
Once I finished the film, I was surprised to find special features with behind the scenes information and interviews from several people involved. This led to one of my infamous non-stop labyrinths of research and Googling of the film, The Dakota Building, and the cast and crew. A few of the actors, like Ruth Gordon and Sidney Blackmer, were born before the turn of the century and were involved in silent films! I don’t know why that fascinated me so much!
Anyway, it was an interesting film and worth finally seeing it. It wasn’t nearly as “weird” as people led me to believe it was, plus the acting was great!
For more beautiful stills from the film, check out this post from Beautiful Stills from Beautiful Films.
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