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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

directed by Ted Post
USA 1973

 

Social worker Ann Gentry (Anjanette Comer, RABBIT RUN) has taken on the strange wellfare case of "Baby" (David Manzy, HERBIE RIDES AGAIN), the youngest son of Mrs. Wadsworth (Ruth Roman, THE WINDOW). Although in his twenties, "Baby" wears diapers, sleeps in a crib, and does not walk or speak (other than infant sounds). His two older sisters Germaine (Marianna Hill, MESSIAH OF EVIL) and Alba (Suzanne Zenor, THE WAY WE WERE) are a little short of normal as well. After spending some time with Baby (too much according to her supervisor as well as Mrs. Wadsworth), Ann believes that Baby should be a normal young man but has been kept an infant by a sort of "sick love," but Ann's motives for wanting to gain custody of Baby may be equally disturbing. Inexplicably rated PG, THE BABY is quite a unique seventies film. The melodramatic plot seems destined for a TV movie of the week, but director Ted Post and writer Abe Polsky take it into disturbing territory. Ann's connection to Baby is ambiguous but the viewer is suitably intrigued throughout, while Germaine and Alba use Baby to work out their respectively sexual and sadistic frustrations. Serious performances keep the film from edging over into camp despite a "birthday party of the damned" lit in gels like Visconti's THE DAMNED, but the film edges into slasher territory late in the film and then finishes off with a truly loopy ending. Former starlet Roman is not so much dignified as ballsy in her performance (compared to the exploitation work of Hollywood actors of an earlier era). Hill, so effectively numb as the protagonist of MESSIAH OF EVIL, is wonderfully demented here (in the birthday party scene, she looks like a refugee from a Fellini film). Zenor's character is not so subtly rendered as Hill's, but the actress is effective once we fully understand what her character's hangup is. Manzy's performance as "Baby" is hard to assess (he was dubbed by a real baby's voice). For the most part, he remains pitiful and affecting without crossing over into tasteless comedy. Beatrice Manley (BANG THE DRUM SLOWLY), as Ann's mother-in-law, is given little to do (possibly necessitated by plot ambiguities early on). Exploitation favorite Michael Pataki (GRAVE OF THE VAMPIRE) has a sleazy supporting performance with a couple funny lines. The cinematography of Michael Margulies (DIRTY MARY, CRAZY LARRY) is colorful and attractive, but is better served by widescreen framing (the open matte transfers have a TV-movie feel to them). The film's most bewildering element is not "Baby" but Gerald Fried's ravishingly beautiful orchestral score (sadly never released on LP or CD).

Eric Cotenas

Poster

Theatrical Release: March 1973 (USA)

Reviews        More Reviews       DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

Severin Films - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Geneon - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for all the Screen Caps!

(Severin Films - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Geneon - Region 0 - NTSC - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Severin Films

Region 0 - NTSC

Geneon
Region 0 - NTSC
Runtime 1:24:51 1:24:54
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.4 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Open Matte format
Average Bitrate: 5.65 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Severin Films

 

Bitrate:

 

Geneon

 

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

Subtitles none none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Severin Films

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Tales from the Crib: Audio Interview with director Ted Post (16:9; 19:59)
• Audio Interview with star David Mooney (11:46)
• Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 2:45)
• Trailers for PSYCHOMANIA, IN THE FOLDS OF THE FLESH and HORROR EXPRESS

DVD Release Date: June 28th, 2011
Amaray

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: Geneon

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• none

 

DVD Release Date: October 4th, 2005
Amaray

Chapters 18

 

Comments

First released on DVD by Image Entertainment in 2000, that transfer was open-matte, but also featured the film's isolated music and effects track (as well as a Spanish dub). The same transfer was reissued by Geneon in 2005 stripped of its music/effects track, Spanish dub, as well as any kind of menu. Severin's new negative-sourced anamorphic, progressive, dual-layer transfer is framed at 1.78:1 (although the cover claims 1.66:1, but the open-matte transfer has a lot of dead space on the top and bottom). Some scenes seem a little too bright with slightly grayish blacks and less color saturation (most evident during the "birthday party of the damned" sequence), although the Geneon transfer may also be boosted. The Severin sound is cleaner, the better to appreciate Gerald Fried's score.

Severin has included new audio interviews (over the telephone) with director Ted Post and "Baby" actor David Manzy (aka David Mooney). Manzy talks about his strange audition, tension between Anjanette Comer and Ruth Roman, and fondly remembers his two on-screen sisters. Post discusses his trepidation with taking on the project (screenwriter Abe Polsky pursued him for a year to do the film), the film's iffy status as a horror film, and the importance of the script's sexual tension. The film's theatrical trailer and trailers for other Severin titles round out the extras.

 - Eric Cotenas

 



DVD Menus
Severin Films - Region 0 - NTSC
 

 


 

Screen Captures

(Severin Films - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Geneon - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Severin Films - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Geneon - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)


(Severin Films - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Geneon - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Severin Films - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Geneon - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Severin Films - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Geneon - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Severin Films - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Geneon - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 


(Severin Films - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP vs. Geneon - Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Geneon

Sound:

Severin

Extras: Severin
Menu: Severin

 
DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Severin Films

Region 0 - NTSC

Geneon
Region 0 - NTSC

 

 




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