Whether you were raised in a household that was even slightly religious, or you grew up on the rough streets of an urban community, there's a greater than average chance that you've heard the expression "Devil may care" at least once at some point in your existence. Indeed, sometimes that Lucifer fellow does in fact care — about someone's existence, at that — thus, the occasional story or motion picture comes along that centers on a less-than-immaculate conception between Satan and some poor, hapless lass who resides in the human-based world. And there is perhaps no better tale of such an underworldly match-up than Rosemary's Baby — the 1968 thriller from Roman Polanski based on the Ira Levin book of the same name.
Here, Mia Farrow takes the lead as a recently married young housewife named Rosemary Woodhouse — a character full of such naiveté and pathos, that she inevitably paved the way for a great number of actresses (and non-actresses alike) who would go on to follow her into oncoming NYC traffic with not even so much as a prayer that the approaching automobiles will stop (such a scene happens in the film, which was filmed without any rehearsal or participation from the city; Polanski assured his starlet that nobody would dare hit a "pregnant" woman!). Moving into a classic apartment building with her actor hubby Guy (the great John Cassavetes), the happy couple eagerly look forward to their new life together.
Sadly for Rosemary, things aren't as cheery and copasetic as they may seem. In fact, there is a strong possibility that her new neighbors — as played by an amazing assortment of aging performers, such as Ruth Gordon, Sidney Blackmer, former Hal Roach comedienne Patsy Kelly, et al — are quite literally of the Devil. Rosemary's unearthly suspicion being to grow when a nice young lady in the building suddenly leaps to her death — and the kindly, old eccentric couple of Mr. and Mrs. Castavet (the dynamic duo of Gordon/Blackmer) begin to invade the Woodhouse way of life on a daily and nightly basis. Things take a turn for the even eerier when Rosemary has a nightmare about being raped by a demonic persona — only to discover soon thereafter that she is indeed carrying a child.
Produced by none other than king of theatre gimmicks himself, William Castle, Polanski's first American film is a masterfully-crafted exercise in psychological horror that consistently keeps the average moviegoer guessing as to whether or not Farrow's onscreen fears are genuine or imaginary. The swingin' Manhattan scene of the late '60s in which the movie as filmed only adds to the project as a whole, with a variety of styles (from clothing to music) that — when viewed today — gives the otherwise-dated title a surreal feeling that manages to gain the attention of viewers who have since been spoiled by flashy editing and cinematography, as well as contemporary filmmaking laziness in-general.