The opening titles are beyond creepy and yet seductive with the creepy lullaby! Dreamily the viewer is floating above New York City. Then the viewer is dropped down almost as if by parachute to land to see Rosemary and Guy. Then one first meets Guy and Rosemary as they are going into Bramford (Dakota). They pass a water fountain that has white Calla lilies which has a meaning of an innocent that doesn’t know what the danger. We can assume that the Calla Lillies represent Rosemary Woodhouse.
On the outside they just seem like sweet old couple that brought in a street kid, Terry Gionoffrio, that was at one time addicted to drugs. Terry is the kind of girl that would have been attracted to go out to San Francisco and become a free loving hippie. She would have also been the type of girl that would have been preyed on since she did not come from money and did not have family to protect her.
Terry says "They picked me off the sidewalk literally. I was starving and on dope...If it was not for them I'd be dead or in jail." She admits at first that she thought that they wanted some kinky sexual deeds from her but they turn out to be like grand parents. Terry of course does not have any close family and her only close family is a brother who is in the Navy.
Minnie and Roman brought in the young girl because all of the members of the coven are too old to reproduce a child of Satan. Unfortunately though Terry Gionoffrio who was "cleaning a windows at midnight" drops to her death. The night before the accident one hears through Rosemary and Guy's wall Minnie and Roman having a fight. Minnie is yelling "Why it is impossible to be hundred percent sure! Well, if you want my opinion we shouldn't tell her at all. That's my opinion." Rosemary and Guy make a joke about the partition and about being able to hear them. Then one hears people chant and wood wind instruments.
The night of Terry's Death she is sleeping in bed when she can hear Minnie talking to Roman through partition wall. We over hear Minnie say" Sometimes I wonder how come you're the leader of anything." Roman as we learn later is the head of the coven. This is transcribed into Rosemary's dream by having Minnie's voice/words being said by an angry nun holding a bible. Minnie further starts yelling as the nun "Please don't tell me what Laura-Louise said because I am not interested. If you'd listen to me we wouldn't have had to do this. We'd be all set to go instead of having to start all over from scratch."
Interesting enough the windows of the room is being covered up by bricks. Roman says "shh!" but Roman is in the dream a handy man. Minnie yells "I told you not to tell her in advance, I told you she wouldn't be open minded." Meanwhile the image turns to the yelling nun walking over to a catholic girl choir. The present conversation on the other-side of the partition mixed with Rosemary's memory.
Rosemary says "I told sister Veronica about the windows and she withdrew the school from the competition otherwise we would have--." Rosemary seems to wake up when the door bell then rings. It is Minnie who is scoping out the place and is being very nosy about her and invites he to have a dinner with her that night that they cremated Terry. What is really odd is that of all nun names Veronica does not seem like a very "nun" name. It seems rather fancy and movie star like than nun. When I think of nun names I like Sister Mary, Katherine, Helen, and very simple names. So Rosemary as a child was in a catholic school girl choir and she said something about windows and got the choir disqualified. It was felt that they were going to win "if Rosemary had not gotten in the way."
Or is this the real truth? Is this something that we see through Rosemary's eyes that might not actually be really happening.
There are many themes that are in the book/movie. There is of course a high level of Paranoia in the movie/book. There is a fight between good and evil. There is the fight of Midwestern values being passe in the big city of New York. Then there is the question is Rosemary's baby really the baby of Satan or is it really just post partum depression? Therefore to some degree this story is also about mental illness versus reality. This story is yet another thing that outsiders would use the tag line "Only in New York [there would be a Satanic Cult that impregnates a woman with the spawn of Satan]."
Ira Levin in his book makes the story surreal but yet at the same time real. Ira Levin is perfection at creating almost real surreal situations which is also seen in "The Stepford Wives." We have seen those women who have moved to gated communities in Connecticut and then all of sudden look like a clone of everyone else in the gated community. Rosemary is very much a Stepford Wife although she is not under that vein yet because Ira Levin had not yet published the book until 1972. She goes under the idea of the "Cult of Domesticity" because she had the out dated four cardinal virtues: piety (Catholicism), Purity, Submission and Domesticity.Rosemary adheres to her role because she ultimately feels that woman's natural and most satisfying role was to be a mother. She wanted so badly to be a mother!
|Joanna Bot from "The Stepford Wives." Disney animatronic vet |
created a utopia of robot women for men of the town
of Stepford that were sick and tired of their activist wives.
In Rosemary's Baby there is the normal fear of the fact that you need to keep your baby safe and that a mother gets very protective of their baby. We can further suggest with her inability to get pregnant quickly like her midwestern sisters that she is especially concerned about this pregnancy. We can then suggest that she really was not at all in the presence of a Satanic Coven but rather in her state she perceived them as threats. Oddly enough she a fertile young woman was intimidated by women who were beyond menopause! Women that did not have to worry about being pregnant and women that Guy would not be interested in cheating with. Yet she was intimidated by them. If you see it from the point of view that they are all in a coven then it makes sense but still it is interesting there are no young women in the coven. Perhaps are not really any monsters just overly invested elderly people that can take a toll on your young life and your libido! If anyone has dealt with a non family member old woman or man you realize that they become dependent on you. You might want to spend time with your husband and then all of a sudden you are driving a elderly next door neighbor, friend and etc to the store. They want to take time away that Rosemary did not want. She wanted to be with her friends and she wanted all the attention of Guy. Guy wanted to be on Broadway and to be a star actor on Broadway and maybe the movies. Rosemary pretty much just stayed in all day hoping to be pregnant like a dog waiting for him to come home.
- The whole scary basement of the Bramford. It is kind of like the myth that there are alligators in the sewers!
- The fact that the police don't want to investigate Terry's death because there are more crimes for them to go report. The idea that New York is a very dangerous place although at that time New York was dangerous.
- Terry's death scene is the most gory of all the movie it gets to Rosemary but Guy can sleep after seeing it.There is that idea of New York Apathy. Midwesterns would have know Terry and would be upset about her death for a long time! It is something that could shake a midwestern's to the soul!
- Pope Paul VI sees the New Yorkers at Yankee's Stadium which is not a church but rather the church of the nation's favorite past time! That is very sacrilegious!
- At the doctor's office while she is waiting to be saved from the Coven she reads an article of time "Is God Dead." This of course is a real Time cover but it something that is well timed since she is afraid that a satanic cult has implanted her with Satan's offspring. Where is he to save Catholic Rosemary from the pain and suffering from of carrying Satan's offspring? Has he left Rosemary because she moved to the big city?
- Everyone seems to be an atheist in NYC! Minnie and Roman talk about how Pope is silly. Then they half hearted apologize to Rosemary. Even her husband Guy is not religious. Even though Rosemary is apparently very Catholic we never see her go to church not even once on Christmas. She is not even a High holiday Catholic as we call it in Massachusetts.
- There is a scene where they say "Hail Satan" at New Years and when she finally meets her son like what most Midwesterners secretly think all those posh NYCers did. That they value their expensive goods over family values and that they were heathens.
- She adores Hutch who obvious from the counter-culture.
- She is never seen calling or writing to her folks in the Midwest.
- She never goes to church.
- She is the one who suggest to Guy that they have sex not in a bed but on the floor when the first move in.
- She does not clean her plate when she eats.
- She is interested into the occult.
- She has a dream where she is on a ship with JFK and is naked.
- She has a dream later on where she is naked in front of a sailor who is black (would be a big deal in 1960s all white Midwestern town). She also has a dream about someone she knows in real life and he is the elevator operator from her building. He is also the one that is steering the ship she is upon in the dream.
- She cannot possibly be that Naive! Is it possible that she makes her own reality and makes herself be the victim?
- Loss of appetite The girl never eats and when she should be gaining weight she loses weight
- Insomnia She has been eating in her sleep and after the baby is born in her home she cannot sleep. She thinks they are plotting against her post baby and refuses to take her sedatives. She does not really sleep.
- Intense irritability and anger For a easy going woman she does tend to have a lot of outbursts. She goes next door when she hears a baby through the back wall. She goes over with a knife and threatens the next door neighbors.
- Overwhelming fatigue She cannot go anywhere and she has bags under her eyes. She has severe cramps that her doctor is ignoring.
- Loss of interest in sex She thinks that her husband let her be raped by Satan or Satan went through him while they had sex. Yeah I would say she has this!
- Lack of joy in life She always is left alone while Guy goes out for these cast calls. Then he is performing on Broadway yet she never goes out to see him perform! Odd. Plus she only has one party and she is overly emotional during the party.
- Feelings of shame, guilt or inadequacy She thinks she spawned the son of Satan. The only time pregnant and it is Satans!
- Severe mood swings Just in one scene of the party she goes from being happy her old friends are coming to the party. She then talks about how she is not feeling well and then bursts out with "I am not going to have an abortion." Then after the party while Guy and her are cleaning she talks about how the pain has stopped! That her baby is alive!!! She is over joyed! This was maybe a period of 6-8 hours maybe more!
- Difficulty bonding with your baby She looks at her baby in the crib and she talks about how inhuman her baby's eyes are/ her baby is the devil. She only goes over to help the baby because Laura Louise is rocking the cradle too hard.
- Withdrawal from family and friends How is it that a first time mother does not have her family come up or visit her before or after the baby is born? She never sees her friends EXCEPT when she has that party. But those friends never come after the party? She does not send out cards that announce that she is pregnant. She only sees Minnie who is a lonely older woman.
- Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby she goes into the next room with a knife to kill whoever is near her baby. She thinks her baby is the devil.
- Anxiety She thinks she is carrying the spawn of Satan and a coven is after her!
- Relationship problems: She was ignored a lot by Guy and then after befriending the neighbors next door he is interested in having a baby with her. It seems forced and too convenient to Rosemary.
- Family or personal history of depression: We do not know anything about her family life just that her siblings are always pregnant.
- Infertility treatments: She does not have any treatments but she does not get pregnant easily. She is very upset when she thinks she was pregnant but then gets her period.
- Previous pregnancy loss: We are not sure about this but it seems like they were just trying for a while.
- Stressful life events: Her husband raped her while she was asleep and that is how she got pregnant.
- Complications in pregnancy: She has intense pains and is her pain is being ignored! It causes her not to be able to really sleep and she eats raw meat when she sleepwalks!
- History of abuse or trauma: Not sure of previous history but she was raped by her husband.
There was a lot of disappointment that she was not able to conceive right away because she comes from a Midwestern town where he sisters have many kids. The scene where she is not pregnant she is quite moody, listens to jazz, puts a water bottle on her stomach and is surrounded by two menopausal women. Perhaps the attempts to have children had become less about love and more about producing an heir. That night that Rosemary conceives Andy she is passed out. If we believe that in fact there is NO satanic cult then we have to get our minds around the fact that her husband raped her. Rosemary wakes up and has scratches all over her body. Guy looks at her with a smug and fake apologetic face seen here. That would be a lot to wake up and process. Yet she does not really get mad.
That is enough to make her think that maybe he is evil but being religious or brought up catholic to think of him as the devil. That way she can think ill of her husband without actually being mad at her husband. It is disgusting to see that she is covered in scratches and that her husband say "I did not want to miss baby night." But ignore that fact in order to get those scrapes on her body Guy had to have really had rough sex with her. The fact that in the beginning of the movie he is so sweet, shutting off the lights and making love to her. Then now he has angry like sex with her. There might be something different in the relationship.
I think that Rosemary was not just some yokel from the Midwest. Maybe in the early beginning but I think she was hitting the New York life and adapting a city lifestyle. She had friends that she hung out with that were educated and sophisticated. She lived by Broadway and she could catch a show. So when her husband raped her I think something inside of her shifted. She was not the sweet naive girl anymore and I think she woke up to the fact that her husband raped her. Seeing him as the devil so that she could be mad at him! Rosemary became angry! Her husband raped her, all of a sudden out of no where he became famous and he was ignoring her! Her childlike view of her marriage to Guy was falling apart. No longer was her reality based in real life but rather the idea that her beloved turned evil because there was a plot set against her. That a coven wanted to use her to as a vessel for the spawn of Satan.
Guy oddly insists like an over bearing father that she finish her dessert. Rosemary distracts him so that she can get rid of the chocolate mousse in her napkin. She then oddly calls Guy " Daddy." However, one could argue that is what wives said to their husbands in that time frame. Today that would be an odd choice of word. But if you look at the relationship you see Rosemary behaving badly or jealous and Guy like a Dad throughout. Is it because Guy had to take responsibility over Rosemary where they were before? Or he could just be over bearing jerk even without the Coven connection.
|Kennedy as a Naval Officer|
Then JFK transforms into Hutch who is pointing around. He sort of is pointing like a compass perhaps suggesting that Hutch is the moral compass. Oddly then Rosemary is being undressed or going against her own moral compass? Reminds me of the quote: "If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable"- Lucius Annaeus Seneca. Rosemary is just sort of drifting in many ways in her life. She is married but without a baby. Rosemary is not a practicing Catholic and not sure if she wants to go back to the fold.
For an example one of the women, Laura-Louise that is always doing the wrong things. This older woman shown above she was the one who let Terry out of her sight then Terry died. She is also the woman that did not know how to properly rock the baby when Rosemary finds out that they have the child. Perhaps this woman is actual some sort of nurse that is looking out for Rosemary or is a concern woman that is trying to help out Rosemary. This woman might not actually be old. She could be a projection of her mother or represent to her mind older values that don't fit in current New York. Anyway. We know Rosemary is lonely and depressed she basically had that conversation of Hutch. Hutch might have also suggested or put in Rosemary's mind that maybe she get a divorce.
These innocent housewives and Stepford wives we think existed in the 1960s were just women that were undercover junkies. "Valley of the Dolls" talks about this addiction of average to glamours women of the time. To be upfront I have only seen the movie of and it is totally overly soap opera but the ideas are very relevant. It also ironically did star Sharon Tate who originally Roman wanted to be in the movie "Rosemary's Baby." It is interesting with to note that Roman Polanski wrote the screenplay and wanted Sharon in the role. There is a scene where Rosemary invites all her young friends says to one of her friends and this is what is said:
The Valley of the Dolls has a character named "Nelly" played by Patty Duke who gets addicted to pills after her agents want her to lose weight. She does not eat, she boozes and takes pills to take off edges of other pills. The "Valley of the Dolls" book came out in 1966 which ironically is the year that Rosemary is pregnant. However the real reason Rosemary is pregnant in 1966 is significant is because that is when the Church of Satan begins.
Guy is all of a sudden away from her and she exhibits mood swings. Perhaps she is paranoia that Guy is going to leave her or has lost interest in her perhaps because he body is changing. Perhaps Guy's new career makes her paranoid that he is having an affair. She cannot understand how all of a sudden a man that was suppose to get a part in a play goes blind. She wants desperately to think ill of Guy and think that he on purpose took a tie in order to change the fate of the other actor. But rather this Rosemary that we see that is just so Midwestern and so innocent is not what she appears to be instead of her neighbors. She is ironically the only one that is not/has not been pregnant in her family.