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REVIEW The Bad Seed (1956, movie)

the bad seed    Director: Mervyn LeRoy    Writer: John Lee Mahin

Christine Penmark (Nancy Kelly ), a dedicated housewife, thinks she have the perfect family. Her charming little daughter, is Rhoda (Patty McCormack). A beautiful 8 year old, with blonde hair, blue eyes and pigtails. Everything seems perfectly normal at the eyes of this loving mother. That is, until one day one of Rhoda’s school mates, mysteriously drowns at the lake. The same boy who won a medal that Rhoda always craved… Can a child be a soulless monster? That is the question Christine start to ask, as she stares into her daughter sweet and perfect smile.

The star of this show is obviously Rhoda. Truth be told, before Norman Bates, there was Rhoda Penmark. Her portrait as the manipulative sociopath is remarkable. She is a child who loves her dolls, but also a hatred and jealous cold killer. This duality makes her a truly interesting character.
Nancy Kelly, likewise, delivers a great performance as the tortured mother who becomes aware of the evil within her child, battling with her decision in handling it.

The Bad Seed is based on a play written by Maxwell Anderson, which was based on a novel written by William March. This may not be a movie to everyone’s taste, heavy on dialogue, taking place primarily in one interior location and with some over the top acting, the whole thing is very stagy. The story deals with question like, are bad people born, not made? Does nurture really trump hereditary?

This one is a true classic, a delight from start to finish, with a great storyline and superb acting. There is no blood or gore, all we have is the power of suggestion. A very creepy and disturbing movie, not to be missed.

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1 Comment so far

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