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Rosemary’s Baby [Criterion Collection] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English LPCM 1.0 (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: English SDH
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: R
  • Run Time: 136 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Digital Copies: N/A
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • Blu-ray Release Date: October 30, 2012
  • List Price: $39.95

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:4/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4/5]

Roman Polanski’s (Carnage; The Pianist; Chinatown) 1968 Hollywood debut Rosemary’s Baby introduced the already established European director of such psychological dramas as Repulsion to an American market with a similar journey through a woman’s madness. This time around, however, the journey would take on more supernatural leanings, and Rosemary’s Baby, based on the novel by Ira Levin, would also lead the way for the horror/thrillers of the 1970s such as The Exorcist and The Omen.

Starring a waifish Mia Farrow straight from her Peyton Place role in the titular role as Rosemary, the film follows the Woodhouses, Guy (John Cassavetes; A Woman Under the Influence) and Rosemary as they move into a new apartment in Manhattan, the historic building carrying a long history of gruesome deaths. Their nosy elderly neighbors inveigle their way into the Woodhouse’s lives. When Rosemary becomes pregnant – the implication being that Rosemary has been raped by the devil himself as we see in an earlier nightmare sequence – Rosemary becomes increasingly suspicious about her neighbors, her doctor, and even her husband, suspecting they want to steal her baby and use it for satanic rituals.

What makes Rosemary’s Baby so effective, however, is the fact that the film’s focus is rarely on anything supernatural. As a viewer we are forced to question right up to the very end whether Farrow’s character Rosemary is truly being targeted by supernatural forces, or if she is just a woman knocked of center by her new circumstances and in the midst of a breakdown. Polanski, already a master at such topics by this time, builds the tension masterfully through his use of the camera, the eerie jazz-inspired score from Krzysztof Komeda, and a breakout performance from Farrow herself.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

This new digital transfer, approved by Roman Polanski, was created in 4K resolution on a Scanity film scanner from the original 35mm camera negative. Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, splices, and jitter were manually removed using MTI’s DRS and Pixel Farm’s PFClean, while Image Systems’ Phoenix was used for small dirt, flicker, and scratches.

Criterion gives us a great looking, film-like transfer of Rosemary’s Baby in an AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement of Blu-ray. It has strong contrast, nuanced shadows, and no video noise.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The original monaural soundtrack was remastered at 24-bit from the original 35mm magnetic soundtrack. Clicks, thumps, hiss, and hum were manually removed using Pro Tools HD. Crackle was attenuated using AudioCube’s integrated workstation.

The audio sounds quite clean and full considering the age of the recording. It’s provided in a LPCM 1.0 (48kHz/24-bit) track that has not audible clipping, only a small amount of hiss, and clear intelligible dialogue and sound effects.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:4/5]

Criterion Collection offers up a strong slate of supplemental materials here that, as is typical of the studio, help understand the film, filmmaker, and production on much deeper levels.

The supplements:

  • Remembering Rosemary’s Baby (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:46:54) – This documentary features interviews with director Roman Polanski, actress Mia Farrow, and producer Robert Evans, who was head of production at Paramount Pictures when Rosemary’s Baby was made. The interviews were conducted by the Criterion Collection in the spring of 2012.
  • Ira Levin and Leonard Lopate (00:19:21) – In September 1997, author Ira Levin appeared on Leonard Lopate’s WNYC radio program New York and Company to discuss his new novel, Son of Rosemary, the sequel to Rosemary’s Baby. During that segment,, which is presented here, the two also talked about Levin’s original novel, the film, and the author’s other acclaimed work in film, television, and theater.
  • Komeda, Komeda – This feature-length documentary on the life and work of Polish jazz musician and composer Krzysztof Komeda was produced for Polish television in 2012. Komeda, who died in 1969, was a longtime associate of Roman Polanski’s and composed the scores for several of his films, including Two Men and a Wardrobe, Cul-de-sac, and Rosemary’s Baby.
  • Booklet: The booklet features an essay on the film by critic Ed Park, author Ira Levin’s afterword to the 2003 New American Library edition of his novel; and Levin’s rare, unpublished character sketches of the Woodhouses and floor plan of their apartment created in preparation for the novel.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

This psychological thriller/horror classic has never looked better than it does in this director-approved edition from Criterion Collection. The film is riveting and the transfer is top notch, so this is one that is easy to recommend.

Additional Screen Captures

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Purchase Rosemary’s Baby [Criterion Collection] on Blu-ray  at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

[amazon-product]B008MPQ0G8[/amazon-product]

Purchase Rosemary’s Baby [Criterion Collection] on Blu-ray  at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:4/5]


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