Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, October 23, 2014


David Mooney (Manzy) and Ruth Roman
THE BABY (1973). Director: Ted Post.

Social worker Ann Gentry (Anjanette Comer) is a widow who lives with her mother-in-law, Judith (Beatrice Manley). She asks to be assigned to the case of the Wadsworth family, who live in a big rundown house and live off the money given them by the state for the care of a member they call "Baby." Although he has the mind of an infant and sleeps in a crib, Baby (David Mooney/Manzy) is actually a grown man. Ann comes to believe that his problem isn't true retardation, but that for some reason his mother (Ruth Roman) is holding him back developmentally. In the meantime Baby is poked with an electric prod by his sadistic sister Alba (Suzanne Zenor); his other sister Germaine (Marianna Hill of The Astral Factor) takes off her clothes and climbs into the crib with him; and in an even more tasteless scene -- if that were possible --  his babysitter abuses him. But as awful as the Wadsworths may be, is it possible that Ann Gentry is even worse and has her own plans for Baby ...? The Baby is well-acted, especially by Mooney, but it is so exploitative of the mentally ill that it's rather hard to take at times. The movie gets points for originality, but little else. Even the plot twists are pretty sick. This is the kind of movie that does no one's career any good. Tod Andrews, who plays a doctor, was the star of From Hell It Came.

Verdict: Too repellent to be entertaining. For a more sensitive look at the mentally-challenged see A Child is Waiting. **.


Neil A Russell said...

If you want to feel even creepier about watching this bizarre movie, check out Josh Olsen's take on it at "Trailers from Hell"

William said...

Well, I'm very open-minded but I think my mind just didn't want to go to the infantilism angle, LOL!