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Horror » » »
Rosemary's Baby


1968       Directed by Roman Polanski

Mia Farrow's dream sequences entailed the yacht were shot at fabulous Playa Del Rey, posh boat anchorage on the Pacific between Santa Monica and Culver City. The yacht used, "Alterego," was a converted Navy search-and-rescue vessel owned by J. A. Steiner, proprietor of a car agency in Pasadena. The ship is 105-feet in length, sleeps 20, is powered by two 250-hp diesels, with an ocean-going range of 5,000-miles. It has a 20-foot beam, cost Steiner $150,000, has an automatic pilot, three depth indicators, high-seas radio, directional finder, automatic foam fire system, five generators, electric heat, galleys and sleeping quarters for crew of eight. Topside are two 14-foot shore boats with 40-hp motors for water skiing and ship-to-shore use. It carries 5,000 gallons of fresh water.

To the cast and crew of Rosemary's Baby plus a flock of extras, jaunts aboard the "Alterego" constituted a nice break from the stale air of sound studios and a particularly bad layer of smog over the Los Angeles area. But wouldn't you know that one crew member

attempted to hand in for "sea-sick pay?"

Under the direction of Academy Award-winning art director Richard Sylbert, huge Stage 12 was transformed into a psychedelic hell to provide a setting for Mia Far-row's nightmares. It is that part of the Ira Levin novel when Mia decides that she has become the victim of members of a cult out to destroy her and her expectant child. One part of the frenzied dream is when she floats down a staircase to a bare double bed placed before a miniature of a burning church. The effect of the church burning was obtained by streamers of cellophane billowing from the edifice by a hidden fan and lighted by a kaleidoscopic effect. Another of Mia's dream sequences shows her leaving her New York apartment by a hidden door that opens crazily, as only in dreams, directly into Rome's Sistine Chapel. Mia mounts a ladder and is shown adding her touches to Michaelangelo's masterpiece depicting the Creating of Adam, the Creation of Earth and the Creation of Eve. Whereas in actuality Michaelangelo's works appear on the ceiling of the Chapel, in the film, to avoid foreshortening, they adorn cloistered walls. Both the church and Michaelangelo's frescos were the work of scenic designer Clem Hall and his staff, duplicating a fourth of the actual works of the old master as seen at the Chapel.

Meticulously copied from the original, Clem and his staff worked in plastic paint on canvas with plaster texture, to simulate the original in Rome which was painted on pure plaster. Clem's rendition, which took him and his staff six weeks to render (as opposed to Michaelangelo's four years) is the exact size of the original, duplicated line by line, crack for crack. Atmosphere players representing ghouls drift in and out of the scene, all covered by a newsreel-type of camera called an Arriflex, roving in and out, up and around, to add to and punctuate the eeriness of the stranger-than-life situation. In Technicolor.

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