Monday, July 20, 2009

The Bad Seed (1956)

An ideal housewife begins to suspect her loving adolescent daughter may be a heartless killer. [imdb]

Nominated for 4 Oscars:

Best Actress: Nancy Kelly
Best Supporting Actress: Eileen Heckart
Best Supporting Actress: Patty McCormack
Best Cinematography, Black-and-White

I keep getting these great movies! The subject of The Bad Seed does not really fit my taste. Thinking of a demonic child brings me memories of a certain Macaulay Culkin movie. But this one is far from being a cliché. First of all, it seems way ahead of its time. Second, it’s not the little girl who gets the centre-stage, but her conflicted mother and we follow her desperation as she realizes what a cold blood killer she’s been raising.

The 3 main Oscar nominations are crazy deserving. I had doubts about the mostly unknown Nancy Kelly, but boy did she prove me wrong. Her leading performance is one of the best of the decade and she would've deserved to win the Oscar! The role is very very difficult as it requires her to go through a wide area of emotions. Her face is very expressive and it helps us understand the moral dilemma of the character.

The supporting actresses are both worthy of a win. The casting of Patty McCormack as the perfect little girl is dead on. She was probably 9 or 10 while filming this, but her acting is much more mature than you’d think. A huge achievement is her capacity of carrying long, unedited (!!!), highly tensioned scenes. Eileen Heckart plays the drunken mother of a dead boy; she gets two scenes, the second of which is rather redundant. But she’s that believable in the role and crazy emotional, that you fall for it and sympathize with this poor woman.

My rating for the film: 9/10. The last scene is a bit debatable :) but The Bad Seed is a thrill to watch, a really mature thriller with unbelievable acting.

1 comment:

  1. The last scene is indeed debatable! haha I really enjoyed this film as well.