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The Bad Seed (2018)


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5 hours ago, darkblue said:

Now, this is one remake I can easily imagine being better than the original film.

But remember this is a Lifetime movie, not very encouraging.

I love the 1956 version, even with sanitized ending. Patty McCormack was chilling as the pig tailed killer.

It was already remade in 1985, also for TV. It kept the original ending but the acting was awful. The little girl was played by some stone faced actress who acted like a zombie, can't remember her name but understandably did not have much of a career. 

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1 hour ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

But remember this is a Lifetime movie, not very encouraging.

I love the 1956 version, even with sanitized ending. Patty McCormack was chilling as the pig tailed killer.

It was already remade in 1985, also for TV. It kept the original ending but the acting was awful. The little girl was played by some stone faced actress who acted like a zombie, can't remember her name but understandably did not have much of a career. 

 

Carrie Wells played Rachel Penmark.

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David Carradine could not top the original LeRoy played by Henry Jones.

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A classic from my youth and yet another remake I couldn't bear to watch. Patty McCormack was the quintessential Rhoda. And absolutely no one could replicate Mrs. Daigle as the magnificent Eileen Heckart.

On a personal note:

I remember as a child seeing the movie (yes, parents took me) and Patty's character continued to haunt my dreams for months. Little did I suspect that I'd come face to face w/my night terror that spring when I made my First Holy Communion.  Who just happened to be in the same line as me & a couple dozen other little girls all dressed in white w/veils clasping our hands in prayer as we headed toward the altar?  None other than "Rhoda" herself! Braids and all. Yikes! Found out later that Patty & her family were members of the same church. I remember thinking how on earth could this devilish, evil brat even step foot inside a church w/o being burned by lightening.?

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I would like to review the screenplay outline before I provided an opinion on if this new adaptation of The Bad Seed is worth seeing.     I'm now watching The Unfaithful an adaptation of The Letter (well off-and-on since I have seen the film).    While I find the film inferior to both prior adaptations of The Letter,  at least the screenwriter,  David Goodis (who was discussed as the author of Dark Passage and other noir \ crime books) and James Gunn made some fairly significant changes to the story.      (even if I don't think most of them 'work') 

There are similar opportunities with The Bad Seed.    E.g.  scenes involving prior members of the family going way-way-back, (e.g. the  grandmother,  great great grandfather etc..) that show how they had the 'seed' and how the 'seed' skipped generations but was still carried on to select members of future generations  (these are rip for flashbacks).     Maybe even one relative that, while having the 'seed' was able to control their impulses.  

Of course this being a T.V. movie the producers likely didn't wish to spend money to have such historical scenes. 

      

 

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The Bad Seed is one of my favorite movies, though admittedly one of the things I love about it is its "camp" appeal with the overwrought performances.  The original novel by William March is excellent, one of my favorite books, and although the movie is quite faithful, it does not replicate March's tone.  Rhoda in the novel is much more steely and subtle, not the tantrum-throwing brat that Patty McCormack so deliciously plays.  The novel presents a very eerie study of a child sociopath.

I would love to see a film adaptation that hews closer to the novel.  I'm certain this won't be it, but I'll definitely be watching as I'm just a sucker for this story.  The trailer frankly promises another camp outing.  By the way, according to Lifetime's website, Patty McCormack herself will appear in this remake, playing the new little angel's psychiatrist.  Can't wait!

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18 hours ago, hamradio said:

It kept the original ending but the acting was awful.

Heh, the acting in the original was pretty awful. We watched this as a family and laughed all the way through it! The ending evoked out loud howls!

(seriously-the Mother laying her head on a table, slapping it with her hand muttering "You're not helping"?)

That said, Patty McCormack's performance was the best of the bunch.

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5 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

Heh, the acting in the original was pretty awful. We watched this as a family and laughed all the way through it! The ending evoked out loud howls!

(seriously-the Mother laying her head on a table, slapping it with her hand muttering "You're not helping"?)

That said, Patty McCormack's performance was the best of the bunch.

Which ending, God dealing out lightning justice or the alternative ending? :D

the-bad-seed-getting-spanking.jpg

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5 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

Heh, the acting in the original was pretty awful. We watched this as a family and laughed all the way through it! The ending evoked out loud howls!

(seriously-the Mother laying her head on a table, slapping it with her hand muttering "You're not helping"?)

That said, Patty McCormack's performance was the best of the bunch.

I agree.   The original film comes off as a high school play.   In fact I was in the my high school drama class (and our teacher was the brother of Laugh-Ins George Schlatter who came to our rehearsal once to observer and assist), and we were better than that.    Patty did OK (as far as child actors are concerned), but I would say Eileen Heckart was very good.  

 

 

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18 hours ago, Feego said:

The Bad Seed is one of my favorite movies, though admittedly one of the things I love about it is its "camp" appeal with the overwrought performances.  The original novel by William March is excellent, one of my favorite books, and although the movie is quite faithful, it does not replicate March's tone.  Rhoda in the novel is much more steely and subtle, not the tantrum-throwing brat that Patty McCormack so deliciously plays.  The novel presents a very eerie study of a child sociopath.

I would love to see a film adaptation that hews closer to the novel.  I'm certain this won't be it, but I'll definitely be watching as I'm just a sucker for this story.  The trailer frankly promises another camp outing.  By the way, according to Lifetime's website, Patty McCormack herself will appear in this remake, playing the new little angel's psychiatrist.  Can't wait!

Hi all.  I'm newbie Emily Emerac.

The Bad Seed is one of my favorites, although I don't think it's a very good movie.  Too static and "staged," and Nancy Kelly was just awful.  I never can figure out what Evelyn Varden was going for, either.  But little Patty was exceptional, as were the never-bad Henry Jones and Eileen Heckert.

I have read the novel, which is better than the original version of the movie.  I wanted to point out something in the book that is not emphasized enough in the first version (I saw the second version, but I frankly don't remember it) -- that is, Mrs. Penmark's subtle complicity in her daughter's crimes.  The reader begins to understand that she knows exactly what Rhoda is all about long before the story opens.

From the description I'm reading in this thread, it sounds like the makers of the new version think they have to "fix" it with filler and flashbacks.  I really don't think that's necessary -- there's certainly enough psychodrama in the novel to fill up more than one movie, if they have a good script and depth of cast.  And a lot of what was taboo in 1956 book, like Mrs. Penmark's understanding of the child she's got, and Leroy's obsession with Rhoda, can certainly be spelled out now.  I'm not too hopeful about this remake.  I don't like the idea of camping up this story, which could be a blockbuster if done in the spirit of the novel, and done right.

And why won't they keep the girl's name as Rhoda?  An unpopular name today which would call attention to her "difference."

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LeRoy didnt do a good job of reining in Nancy Kelly's performance (pitched to the balcony). She starred in the Broadway play as did most of the principals. She was also nominated for an Oscar! It's just too overwrought...

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1 hour ago, Emily Emerac said:

I have read the novel, which is better than the original version of the movie.  I wanted to point out something in the book that is not emphasized enough in the first version (I saw the second version, but I frankly don't remember it) -- that is, Mrs. Penmark's subtle complicity in her daughter's crimes.  The reader begins to understand that she knows exactly what Rhoda is all about long before the story opens.

Having the mother know 'what Rhoda is all about long before the story opens' would add interest and create a lot of creative opportunities (as well as being more faithful to the book);   These are the type of things I look for in a new adaptation. 

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Nancy Kelly's performance is "pitched to the balcony" and this sometimes happens with Broadway actors who don't tone it down for film or TV.  Yes, the director could have reigned her in a bit.  I've seen The Bad Seed many times and I've always liked it and how the story develops.  Although overwrought, I've come to appreciate Nancy's performance.  Her character gets more hysterical as she realizes what a psycho her kid is.  It gets harder to pretend to act "normal" and maintain appearances when everything around you is going off the rails.

That said, Patty, Henry and Eileen are all very good - especially Eileen.  The scene where she notices that Christine (Nancy)  isn't looking all that good and offers her a free beauty treatment is touching.

I also like Evelyn Varden.  She has a scene in NIGHT OF THE HUNTER at a picnic where she's talking about about having to put up with the icky sex part of marriage while her poor husband is within earshot and he just kind of rolls his eyes.

As for the Hollywood ending, I suppose we had to have it as murderers must be punished.  Re the cast introduction:  I don't like the spanking bit - it takes us out of everything we've just seen.  Rhoda wasn't just being a naughty kid caught stealing cookies - she was murdering people!  And why wasn't Frank Cady introduced?  He played Eileen's husband and had dialogue.

I have no desire to see any remakes but thanks to all those who mentioned the novel.  Now I want to read it.

 

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Despite it's faults (or maybe because of them), the film is a guilty pleasure, and if I'm in the right mood, I enjoy watching it. And I've seen it many times. It's too bad they had to have that code ending. And even worse the spanking bit! (It's just a movie, folks!)

 

I hadnt noticed that about Frank Cady before.

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