"Rosemary's Baby" is often talked about as one of the best horror films ever made, and I think it does go down as one of the better films that create tension and don't go for the straight-out shocks that most of today's films seem to choose. The film has little moments again and again that really seem to add up, and combine that with two good performances from the leads, you have a very effective movie.
Mia Farrow and John Cassavettes play Guy and Rosemary Woodhouse, who move into a high-rise apartment in Manhattan where they begin to get settled in. Things are going fine, but there is a general sense of unease about the situation. Small hints of strangeness appear, and things suddenly begin to get worse and worse. A girl who lives with the next door neighbors jumps out the window. The neighbors appear consistently less normal than they were, and soon, Rosemary is pregnant - but the pain she has signals that something is definitely wrong with her unborn child.
There have been a couple of movies that seem to take a bit here and there from this one (and strangely, both of them star Charlize Theron - "Astronaut's Wife" and "Devil's Advocate" - the first one seeming particularly similar), but they don't build suspense nearly as well as director Roman Polanski does in this film. The film's 139 minute running time goes by remarkably quickly, with solid performances bringing these characters to life and keeping us curious about just what will happen next. "Rosemary's Baby" is still a very spooky and creepy horror film today.
VIDEO: Paramount has offered a very enjoyable anamorphic transfer for "Rosemary's Baby" in the film's original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. While there are some imperfections displayed now and again, with the film's age, the film does look fairly good considering its age. The flaws really do completely revolve around a bit of a worn look to the movie, with some print flaws - some slight marks and such, and light grain. No instances of pixelation or shimmering were apparent at any time during the film.
Sharpness is pretty respectable throughout the majority of the movie. There were some slightly dimly lit shots now and then that did look a bit soft and hazy, but these instances were not at all distracting. Detail is good as well, and again, aside from a few darker scenes, clarity was not lacking. Colors are pleasant throughout the movie, as well. The film certainly doesn't present a wealth of colors, but the ones that were on display generally looked warm and with no signs of fading.
This may not be the most impressive presentation of an older film that I've ever seen, but I think that Paramount has done a very good job with the film and aside from a few minor problems, the DVD presents an enjoyable viewing experience.
SOUND: The film's mono soundtrack is presented here again. Paramount usually does seem to present even older films in re-done Dolby Digital 5.1 sound, so I'm not sure why this one was not included. Still, much of the film remains pretty much dialogue-driven. Dialogue sounds a bit thin at times, but is still easily understood.
MENUS:: Non-animated (some subtle animation would have been nice) main menu, but easily navigated.
Retrospective Interviews: About 15 minutes or so worth of new interviews with those who were involved with the movie, such as smirky producer Robert Evans, who is always amusing to listen to, and of course, Polanski himself. The subjects of the interviews are the usual - we learn about the history of the film and how it came to being, how the performers were chosen and what they were like to work with, and stories from the set. There are some interesting tidbits, but a few places were this documentary drags.
Making Of Rosemary's Baby: An older documentary that looks to be from the time the film was released, and it really doesn't provide a whole lot of information. Much of the interviews seem to tal about how good the actors are and how nice it was to work with them. If you do go through the documentary, there are some informative behind-the-scenes info and pieces footage. Mainly, it's just nice to have a documentary from the film's release included.
The Film A
Video 80/B- = (320/400 possible points)
Audio: 80/B- = (320/400 possible points)
Extras: 83/B = (249/300 possible points)
Menus: 70/C- = (140/200 possible points)
Value: 83/B = (249/300 possible points)
FILM GRADE: A
DVD GRADE: B-