Written by: Michael Den Boer on June 25th, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1973
Director: Ted Post
Writer: Abe Polsky
Cast: Anjanette Comer, Ruth Roman, Marianna Hill, Susanne Zenor, Tod Andrews, Michael Pataki, Beatrice Manley, David Mooney
DVD released: June 28th, 2011
Approximate running time: 85 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Severin Films
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.98
‘Nobody puts Baby in a corner’ – At the heart of this film is a most unusual tale about a grown man, who is treated by everyone around him as though he is still a baby. And the weirdness does not end there, those who interact are just as dysfunctional as Baby. In fact one could easily argue that they that had all long since checked out of reality. The film’s narrative is driven by a power struggle between baby’s family (his mother and two sisters) and a social worker, who has become overly attached to Baby. Only don’t be fooled by her ill perceived good will, for she also has ulterior motives for wanting Baby all for herself.
And while so much of what makes this film works as well as its does relies on its perverse premise. One must not overlook Ted Post’s (Hang ‘Em High, Magnum Force) first rate direction, which does a superb job reigning the operatic performances of the film’s central character’s. The cast features a few recognizable faces, Ruth Roman (Strangers on a Train) in the role of Baby’s mother and Marianna Hill (Messiah of Evil) in the role of Baby’s oldest sister. Of there would be no movie without the genuinely creepy performance of David Mooney in the role of Baby.
There is no easy way to soft peddle what this film is all about. It is not the type of film that is ever going to garner a mass audience, who will delight in the atrocities as they unfold before their very eyes. And yet there is also something oddly compelling about the story at hand, that will linger on in the recesses of your mind, long after the final images have faded off the screen.
Severin Films presents The Baby in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This is a brand new transfer that has been sourced from the original film negative. There are no problems with compression or edge enhancement and the source used is in very good shape. And while this is most certainly the best this film has looked on home video, it is also not without its own fare share of shortcomings. Colors at times look muted, black levels are generally weak and have a grayish tint to them.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. There are no major issues with distortion or background noise. Dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (2 minutes 26 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), two audio interviews, the first one with director Ted Post (20 minutes) and the second one with actor David Mooney (11 minuutes 47 seconds), who portrayed ‘Baby’ in the film. For his interview Ted Post discusses how he became attached to this project, the cast and his thoughts on the final product. For his interview David Mooney his performance and what effects this role had on his career. Also included with this release are trailers for Psychomania, In The Folds of Flesh and Horror Express. Overall though this release is an improvement upon all previous home video release of this film, it also far from a definitive improvement because of the short comings of the transfer.