Drag star Hedda Lettuce presented Rosemary’s Baby last night at the Chelsea Clearview and was delightfully satanic enough to bring me onstage beforehand to talk about my love for the 1968 horror classic.
I advised the audience to look for various sitcom regulars who Polanski purposely cast as witches because he wanted to subvert America’s idea of its beloved figures.
I mentioned that Ruth Gordon had already patented her looney old lady routine in movies like Inside Daisy Clover, but not with as evil an edge (or as much Oscar-winning brio) as in this film. Even the amazing Jackie Kennedy look-alike in the disturbing dream sequence can’t steal the movie from raucous Ruthie.
I told how Frank Sinatra demanded that Mia quit the film and come join him on The Detective, but she wisely chose an A-list movie career (and a very cute Vidal Sassoon hairdo) over that particular marriage.
And I asked the audience to look for the Sammy Davis book Yes, I Can on the shelf of Mia’s screen hubby, the ambitious, stop-at-nothing actor played by John Cassavetes.
Touches like that are pure genius — as is the fact that the film’s accumulating horror is achieved with hints and innuendo, not with chainsaws and screaming.
Anyway, the Yes, I Can reference reminded Hedda of her presidential campaign slogan: “Yes, we tran!”