Indeed, nearly everybody but Rosemary is acting. Or are they? It’s a perfectly paranoid view of the world: if there are “plots against people” (as Rosemary frantically explains to a seemingly sympathetic doctor), then everyone else is in fact performing, and you are an audience of one. The Woodhouses first encounter the Castevets amid chaos in front of the Bramford. On the sidewalk is the lifeless body of Terry, whom Rosemary has recently met in the laundry room; she was a houseguest of the Castevets’, who treated her like the daughter—or granddaughter—they never had.(“They picked me up off the sidewalk, literally,” she tells Rosemary, alluding to a dissolute past.) The Castevets’ manner of dress is theatrical—Roman in a pink pin-striped suit and red bow tie, Minnie with a fluffy thing on her head, like she’s been dipped in coconut. They are convincingly distraught upon learning that Terry has killed herself: “That’s not possible. That’ s a mistake,” blurts out Minnie in a typical flood of sentences. (Gordon’s force-of-nature line readings are designed to steamroll any objections Rosemary might have.) The Castevets inhabit so expertly their role as the eccentric old couple that, in the coming days, Rosemary doesn’t even register how swiftly they’ve overcome their grief, how quietly they’ve set the trap for her.
Ed Park on a personal favourite of mine, Rosemary’s Baby. [via The Criterion Collection]