Some dude named Roman Polanski, of Rosemary's Baby fame, is turning 78 today. A couple of years ago I used Roman's birthday as an excuse to list my 5 favorite films of his so, since that's done already, let's just focus in on the one I always wanna be talking about. We've listed our 5 favorite "Minnie Moments" before (we have talked about this movie a lot) so how about this -- here are five of my favorite shots in the film, semi-randomly chosen with a quick once-through.
"Let's make love." Oh if you only knew what you were making, Rosemary! This scene, christening Rosemary & Guy's first night in their new fateful apartment, starts out all sweet, but once Roman's handheld camera closes in on them you can practically feel their gooseflesh. It manages to be both perfectly intimate and off-putting all at once.
"That's nawt pawsssssible." I've always adored the introduction of Roman & Minnie in the film, the way their gaudy rainbow costumes erupt out of the night, but this specific moment's all about Ruth Gordon's never-less-than-brilliant full-bodied performance - Minnie's reaction is so clumsily mannered that it actually swings right around to being believable, and yet Gordon lets you see it both ways. Much like the entire film.
Okay well this might be my favorite shot in any movie, ever, and I've talked about it before so including it here feels like a cheat... but how could I not? The smoke wafting around that corner is the nothing less than the devil himself, the possibility of evil just off-screen so close, so possible it's breathing down your neck, and it's everything I adore about this movie and the way it makes me feel in a single static image. Stare Rosemary stare, there's still no helping what's right there!
That said this might be the straight-up scariest image in the whole film - the ghastliness of Farrow's bloodied powder-blue reflection is straight out of The Fearless Vampire Killers.
There's clearly a disturbingly sexual nature to this shot, with Rosemary boxed in the frame by Saperstein's looming crotch, and yet somehow if you're willing to look for it there's also kind of a nasty joke wherein Guy himself is turned into a dick, a literal dick. God I love this movie.