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JamesStewartFan95

The Bad Seed-One Scary Little Girl

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Watching The Bad Seed and noticing just how good Patty McCormack is at playing an evil little girl. Mervyn LeRoy should have won an Oscar for directing that performance. Nancy Kelly and Eileen Heckart are also good.

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I think a lot of her skill playing the character was developed during the Broadway stage run (334 times). So the director of the play-- Reginald Denham-- probably deserves most of the credit for shaping her performance.

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Towards the end, when the gardener claimed he had her shoes and she starts yelling at him, it was very eerie! Patty McCormack did that scene so well, her voice and those facial expressions were very scary! Her character had a fitting ending!

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Towards the end, when the gardener claimed he had her shoes and she starts yelling at him, it was very eerie! Patty McCormack did that scene so well, her voice and those facial expressions were very scary! Her character had a fitting ending!

In the movie...but (spoiler below):

 

She gets away with her killings in the stage play.

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In the movie...but (spoiler below):

 

She gets away with her killings in the stage play.

Really? I heard that in the play the mother does not survive the suicide attempt as well, do you know if that's true? I guess they wanted a "happy" ending (well...not exactly happy) in the movie.

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Really? I heard that in the play the mother does not survive the suicide attempt as well, do you know if that's true? I guess they wanted a "happy" ending (well...not exactly happy) in the movie.

Yes...the mother does die in the stage version. Definitely not a happy ending. The movie was bound by the production code, where evil characters had to pay for their crimes (that's why the little girl is killed in the final scene) and where good characters could not pay for someone else's crimes (why the mother must live).

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Yes...the mother does die in the stage version. Definitely not a happy ending. The movie was bound by the production code, where evil characters had to pay for their crimes (that's why the little girl is killed in the final scene) and where good characters could not pay for someone else's crimes (why the mother must live).

Yes, Rhoda Penmark is one of horror cinema's greatest creations.

 

She does live on in the stage play - and her next victim will probably be the upstairs neighbor.

 

By the time she got around to doing the screen version, Patty McCormack had honed that performance to perfection during the Broadway production.

 

In her inteview on the DVD, she said that she loved the audience's gasps at the evilness of Rhoda.

 

And, on matinee days, she loved going to lunch at Sardi's with Nancy Kelly.

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I love films about evil little kids.

 

One of the best is 2007's "Joshua", which is an art film/horror film.

 

It stars Sam Rockwell and Vera Farmiga as an affluent Manhattan couple, Jacob Kogan as their perfect child and Dallas Roberts as the refined uncle.

 

It was directed and co-written by George Ratliff.

 

I'd rather not discuss the details of the plot.

 

Because it should come as a surprise to the audience.

 

But the film succeeds brilliantly with the performance of young Jacob Kogan, one of cinema's scariest children.

 

joshua.jpg

 

Joshua and his Uncle Ned - what was their secret? - did they have a secret? -

 

Joshua-wned.gif

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Isn't it interesting that Patty McCormack could not get away with her evil deeds in the film version of "The Bad Seed", but that Jacob Kogan could get away with his evil deeds in "Joshua"? 

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Isn't it interesting that Patty McCormack could not get away with her evil deeds in the film version of "The Bad Seed", but that Jacob Kogan could get away with his evil deeds in "Joshua"? 

 

Well there was that thing called the Production Code.      At least The Bad Seed has an unrealistic, almost mock ending,  where the girl gets killed by lightning (as if God did the deed).     This makes her 'going down' all the more fun.    Played straight it would have fallen flat.

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Well there was that thing called the Production Code.      At least The Bad Seed has an unrealistic, almost mock ending,  where the girl gets killed by lightning (as if God did the deed).     This makes her 'going down' all the more fun.    Played straight it would have fallen flat.

 

Good point. Rhoda's death at the end of the film has 'production code' written all over it. It would have been more thought-provoking if the last shot was her going upstairs to kill the neighbor. Where we are left wondering if she will succeed, or if she will get caught.

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Good point. Rhoda's death at the end of the film has 'production code' written all over it. It would have been more thought-provoking if the last shot was her going upstairs to kill the neighbor. Where we are left wondering if she will succeed, or if she will get caught.

Sort of strange that they didn't take the easy way out and just have the mother's murder/suicide plan work on Rhoda; they could have easily ended it in the hospital and just said, "Oh, they couldn't save Rhoda, she's dead now", but they let her live long enough to get struck by lightening instead. I wonder if they just wanted a more dramatic end, or if they didn't want her to die by her mother's deed?

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Sort of strange that they didn't take the easy way out and just have the mother's murder/suicide plan work on Rhoda; they could have easily ended it in the hospital and just said, "Oh, they couldn't save Rhoda, she's dead now", but they let her live long enough to get struck by lightening instead. I wonder if they just wanted a more dramatic end, or if they didn't want her to die by her mother's deed?

 

Yes, I think that's it. The mother couldn't kill her, or else the mother would have to be punished. So they made Rhoda's demise occur in a way that it was 'an act of nature.'

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And, then, in the credits, they brought out Nancy Kelly to hit Patty McCormack's derriere a few times!!!! 

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And, then, in the credits, they brought out Nancy Kelly to hit Patty McCormack's derriere a few times!!!! 

 

Yes, very cute. I wonder if they also did that on stage when the cast was taking its curtain call.

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Jarrod, I doubt it, since in the play, Rhoda Penmark lives on.

 

Yes, they might have just done that for the end of the movie-- but it seemed kind of "stagey" so I thought maybe it was something the had done on Broadway and wanted to preserve for posterity. LOL

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Yes, they might have just done that for the end of the movie-- but it seemed kind of "stagey" so I thought maybe it was something the had done on Broadway and wanted to preserve for posterity. LOL

Well, I guess, that the derriere-slapping could have been used as a "joke" during the curtain call for the original Broadway production.

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Sort of strange that they didn't take the easy way out and just have the mother's murder/suicide plan work on Rhoda; they could have easily ended it in the hospital and just said, "Oh, they couldn't save Rhoda, she's dead now", but they let her live long enough to get struck by lightening instead. I wonder if they just wanted a more dramatic end, or if they didn't want her to die by her mother's deed?

 

I assume the producers didn't wish for Rhoda to be murdered by her mother (and yes,  if she would have died from a legal perspective that would have been murder),   so instead they had 'god' kill Rhoda with a lighting bolt.    This was more dramatic and also sends the message of 'don't worry folks,  God will ensure justice is done'.

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