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The Bad Seed
DVD disk
10.07.2004 By: Indiana Sev
The Bad Seed order
Director:
Mervyn LeRoy

Actors:
Nancy Kelly
Patty McCormack
Henry Jones

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
After her husband goes away for a short while to attend to some military duties, Christine Penmark starts suspecting that their little daughter Rhoda may be a little fucked in the head. Rhoda plays innocent and sweet on the outside, but when the body count starts rising, Christine starts realizing that her fears are all too true – she’s raising a rotten kid, some might even say...a bad seed.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I know the premise is kind of shocking (especially for 1956!), but unfortunately, the film's 129-minute run time bogs down the excitement most of the time and the overly long dialogue-driven dramatic sequences bury any kind of suspense that usually begins to build up. They could have (and should have) easily shaved a half hour off this movie in means of making it tighter and a little more thrilling. There are at least 3 lengthy conversations that go on with just the adults around that completely take you away and make you forget that this is actually supposed to be an evil and captivating tale about a little girl who tends to go a little cuckoo when she can’t get something that she really wants.

Patty McCormack, who plays the little brat, gives a very convincing performance, that is to say, you’ll actually feel like strangling her when you realize how twisted and manipulative she is. She gets very annoying, very fast and for a little girl her age to pull off a difficult role like that, is really quite awing. Patty and Nancy Kelly (her mother) deservedly got Oscar nominations for their respective performances. At first, I thought Patty was just an awful child actress, because she was playing it way too hammy, but after a little time, I gave in and understood that it was probably how a real demented child murderess would act. Also, most of the cast (including Patty) had been in the stage version of THE BAD SEED and so it’s to be expected that their performances be a tad theatrical. Anyway, it’s really the film’s length and slow pacing that end up hurting it because the idea is ace and the acting is right on the money. THE BAD SEED scored some big time points with its very satisfying finale as well as the “jokey” sequence that follows after the movie officially ends. Make sure to stay tuned for that…
THE EXTRAS
Audio Commentary by Patty McCormack and Charles Busch: Busch (don’t ask me who this clown is) basically questions Patty as the film plays and she does a bang up job informing us on all that went on with not only the movie, but also the play on which it was based (in which she and many of the cast appeared). It’s really odd to hear Patty speaking as a woman in her late fifties after just having seen her as a pigtailed 8-year old, but you’ll definitely find out all you want to know about the film and its stars, many of whom have long since passed away.

New Making-Of Documentary – Enfant Terrible: A Conversation with Patty McCormack: A 15-minute long conversation in which Patty expands on her experience doing the play and film versions of THE BAD SEED as well as the working relationships she had with her co-stars. It’s interesting to see what the horrible little girl in the film looks like today and McCormack’s fond recollections make this a feature definitely worth looking into.

Theatrical Trailer
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Rent this baby because it’s one of those films you've always heard about, but never got around to seeing. It's also not too shabby a way to spend a boring weeknight with your girlfriend, wife or evil 8-year old daughter (you never know). A cool premise and some cool extras are enough to merit you spending a cool 4 bucks on it at your local video hole this week.
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