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Great New Film Book On Rosemary's Baby


Det Jim McLeod
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This Is No Dream-making of Rosemary's Baby by James Munn and Bob Willoughby

 

I will refer to the film as RB from here on.

RB is one of my top ten films of all time. I have been totally obsessed with it since I saw it on TV back in the 1970s, it was cut but still powerful. In the the 1980s I saw the uncut version in revival theater and was blown away. Since then I have purchased a VHS tape, the DVD, a paperback copy of the novel by Ira Levin, the book on CD (read by Mia Farrow) and now this book.

The book is very pricey ($50) but if you are as big a fan of RB as I am, it's worth it. It is a hardcover coffee table book with a stunning collection of color and B&W photographs of behind the scenes by photographer Bob Willoughby. 

The text is greatly detailed about every aspect of the film, including some scenes cut from the film. One of my favorite parts tells of a scene to be filmed in New York's Greenwich Village where Rosemary is seeing "The Fantasticks". It would have cameos by movie legends Joan Crawford and Van Johnson as themselves. Johnson did not know the director Roman Polanski and when he noticed the diminutive Polanski said "Who is that, Pinocchio?" Polanski was infuriated and cleared the set and decided to scrap the whole scene. Crawford was angry at being brought in and not even used in the film, she told Polanski he needed to learn some manners.

Did anyone else know of this book? If not, what do you think of RB? The novel or the movie.

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Det. Jim, I have to admire your obsession.  I was probably too young to see RB when it first came out, but my parents didn't care and took me along anyway, so it made a big impression on me as well.  Regarding your Fantasticks comment, please forgive my ignorance but I'm wondering if Crawford and Johnson were supposed to be appearing in the musical or were just attending?  (Not sure of how they would have been worked into the story.)  Perhaps in hindsight the movie is a classic as it is so the addition of these big stars might have just been an unnecessary distraction.

Sounds like the book is just the thing for devoted fans.

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11 hours ago, cmovieviewer said:

I'm wondering if Crawford and Johnson were supposed to be appearing in the musical or were just attending? 

The book doesn't go into much detail, but says producer William Castle just got an idea to have golden age movie stars to make some cameos, since it wasn't in the script. The scene was supposed to have Rosemary exiting a cab to see the show. I would assume that Johnson and Crawford would be seen entering the theater to attend the same performance. Below is a great picture of Van Johnson, Mia Farrow, Joan Crawford, Roman Polanski and William Castle. I love the look Mia is giving Johnson.

 

Image result for van johnson mia farrow photos

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I'm a big fan of the book and the movie. I grew up in a vast and atmospheric building in NYC, and when the book came out, my friends joked that it took place in my building (I did not live in the Dakota).

I had a strange experience seeing the film, summer of 1968, Criterion Theatre. I was sitting in the stalls/orchestra section. During the anagram scene, someone in the balcony shouted something like "the balcony is falling!" Everyone in the theater rushed to the exit and onto the sweltering street. After a few minutes, with no explanation, everyone went back in. Very creepy, especially during that scene. 

A few years later, while working on a project with Garson Kanin, I met Ruth Gordon a few times, but never asked her about Rosemary's Baby. I was more obsessed with Harold and Maude. And much later, in the very early 2000s, I worked on a project with Ira Levin. Lovely man.

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