Rosemary's Baby (1968)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 8-Nov-2001

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Interviews-Crew
Featurette-Making Of
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1968
Running Time 131:05
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (91:53) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Roman Polanski
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Mia Farrow
John Cassavetes
Ruth Gordon
Sidney Blackmore
Ralph Bellamy
Maurice Evans
Charles Grodin
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $39.95 Music Christopher Komeda


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Spanish
French
Italian
Greek
Hebrew
Croatian
Portuguese
Slovenian
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Whilst I might not be in total agreement with the cover blurb when it says that Rosemary’s Baby is “perhaps the best horror film ever made”, I do find this film to be an extraordinarily good example of this genre done right, and over the many years I have watched it I always find something new.

    In a nutshell, Rosemary (Mia Farrow) and her husband (John Cassavetes) move into a swanky new apartment in New York, next to an eccentric old couple. They decide to have a child, and after a night on the drink Rosemary dreams of being raped by the devil in an odd black magic ritual – and is soon after pregnant. No ordinary pregnancy, she is plagued by ill health, strange pains, and a distinct lack of good advice from her husband and those around her – save for strange drinks and pills given to her from the old couple. When she does finally give birth, she is told of complications and the loss of the baby, however she learns the truth of witchcraft and the real nature of her baby .. mwhahahaha!! No more can I say!

    An almost perfect horror film made with care and intelligence, and with very good performances, this is a true classic.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. No doubt as a result of Polanski’s European lineage, theatrically this movie was shown at 1.66:1, however there is no obvious loss as a result of the cropping of the open frame to 1.85:1, and this is preferred over a 4x3 transfer, though some may disagree.

    The image was uniformly sharp and clear with good levels of detail throughout. The only major exceptions were during Rosemary’s few dream sequences which were quite a step down in quality, being very grainy and lacking clarity, perhaps intentionally. Grain was observed in varying degrees, being more prominent in darker scenes. The transfer has slightly lower contrast than a modern film generally has, and as a result shadow detail suffered at times, though it was never problematic.

    Colours were rendered naturally, though there was a lack of sparkle which did betray its age.

    There were no MPEG artefacts noticed, no film-to-video artefacts of any kind, and aliasing was pleasingly non-existent. There were very minor and completely trivial film artefacts here and there, remarkable for a movie of this age.

    This DVD is RSDL formatted, with the layer change occurring during the break between chapters 24 and 25, at 91:53 minutes.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are four Dolby Digital 1.0 mono tracks present, one for English, French, Italian and Spanish. I listened to the English soundtrack, and found it to be extremely impressive all things considered.

    The dialogue was particularly well recorded, being at all times completely clear and natural sounding, which is typical of a Roman Polanski film. Another thing which struck me was the effective conveyance of room ambience from only the centre speaker, especially impressive in the large apartment building. The only audio sync issues occurred during a couple of voice loops, where the dialogue had been re-written and re-recorded over the original action.

    The music could be classed as experimental, being a mixture of conventional orchestrations and some off-tangent electronic sounds – perfectly fitting for this time and genre. As with the dialogue, it came across very well, and it was easy to forget that the transfer is in mono.

    Listening in Dolby ProLogic, the subwoofer was called upon now and then and was quite effective.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Crew Interviews

    A short and sweet (16:14 minutes) set of contemporary inter-woven interviews with director Roman Polanski, production designer Richard Sylbert and studio big-wig Robert Evans. Presented in 1.33:1, Dolby Digital 2.0.

Featurette-Making Of

    This featurette was produced at the time of the film's production, and very much shows its age. It is a slightly skewed look at the making of the film, and tends to focus on the director-actor chemistry between Roman Polanski and Mia Farrow. Mia herself is revealed as being a very child-like woman, given over to the hippie ways of the time, even as far as painting flowers and writing “love” on her dressing room door, the same innocent quality which worked so well for her on-screen. Presented in 1.33:1, Dolby Digital 2.0 and running for 22:05 minutes.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    It would seem that both versions are identical except for soundtrack options. Unconfirmed reports of poor audio quality from the R1 version do not translate to the R4 version, which has superbly good audio - albeit mono.

Summary

    An absolute horror classic, lovers of this movie will need no persuading from me to get this lovingly transferred movie on DVD. The audio and video transfers are superbly faithful to the original film, and the ratings reflect that quality.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Paul Cordingley (bio)
Thursday, November 22, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 2108, using S-Video output
DisplayPioneer SD-T43W1 (125cm). Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony STR DB-930
SpeakersFront & Rears: B&W DM603 S2, Centre: B&W LCR6, Sub: B&W ASW500

Other Reviews
region4dvd.net - Darren R (read my bio (fun for the whole family))
Digital Retribution - Trist J

Comments (Add) NONE