The first time I saw The Bad Seed was in college. Come gather little childrens and listen to how horrid it was back in the day...no one had access to a TV other than what was in the lobby or large room on another floor in our dorm. But, one of our hall mates had a boyfriend that gave her a TV for Christmas. There were many a night we all huddled up in that room to watch a show. Only one night remains in my memory, the night we all crammed ourselves onto those twin beds to watch The Bad Seed. It started as a lark because the movie is filmed just like the stage play that developed from the book. So there is great overacting, if it is a movie. At some point we all became interested in the movie for the story of a little girl who killed without remorse to get things she wanted. The deeper story is watching the mother of the girl come to grips with her own unknown past being revealed and watching her daughter be the same kind of person that her mother, Bessie Danker, had been. The father has been called away to Washington DC, he is in the military, and the mother, Christine all alone except for her bossy and nosy neighbor and landlord, Monica. Without the dramatic overacting, the movie was really ahead of its time. Even while I was in college, the belief still held strongly it was environment not DNA that caused people to do unacceptable things.
Years went by and from time to time I would just happen to catch the movie on TV and as I am wont to do, I introduced the movie to friends...mainly once again for the dramatic overacting and the staged curtain call at the end that was tacked on because in 1956 and really the whole ending of the movie, unlike the book, the child had to pay and not get away with murder, for the audience sake. The fear was the audience wouldn't be able to determine movie verses reality.
This was the status quo for watching the movie until I introduced it to Lisa P. We began watching the movie on a different level and taking apart the dialogue and seeing what is really happening to Christine and her descent into despair of knowing her lovely daughter is a cold hearted murderer. We have discussed the power Miss Fern, who was a cowardly nerd, held over Rhoda...the child didn't ever want her mom to call Miss Fern who with her sisters owned the private school that Rhoda went to. All the characters in the movie, except for LeRoy, just see a lovely, polite and almost perfect little girl. LeRoy knows there is more to the girl but he is looked down upon since he is the janitor of the apartment house where Rhoda and her family live.
I didn't even know the movie was on last night until Lisa P texted me. Then I let Peggy and Dena know. Dena likes the movie and Peggy...well, let's just say what Sports Center is to me what The Bad Seed is to her. We'd both would rather be doing other things when those shows are on. So last night Lisa and I texted throughout the whole movie and we both noticed new things as we viewed. We laughed about the classic lines we have all come to love and quote.
In the midst of our texting and watching Roy called to let me know that Beth Moore was on TBN. I told him I was watching The Bad Seed and he asked, you would rather watch that than Beth Moore? Uh, tonight, yes I would. Then I filled him in that she is going to have a TV show...and then went right back to texting with Lisa. At least Lisa had the TBN show recording. I don't have that capability and really don't need it because I don't watch all that much TV,
This morning while looking at FB I realized my college roommate Sherry, had commented about watching the Bad Seed together in college. I asked her to remind me of what she remembered and I am laughing this morning at the forgotten memory after the movie. We did a reenactment for a timid hall mate and as the story of The Bad Seed was told, several were in the closet ready to jump out at the most intense part of the story...they did...Eva scarred ran out of the room. Sherry, who was barefoot came back into the dorm room and asked why there was water on the floor...Eva, who had returned said, she had wet her pants. And there was poor Sherry standing in the midst of it. I have been laughing so hard this morning at that memory. How could I have forgotten that part of the story? Ya got to love FB and how it helps you reconnect.
I know I have written about The Bad Seed before and this probably won't be the last time. There are references throughout the movie of church attendance and Sunday School...mainly by the little bad seed herself. Christine doesn't ever call on the Lord or pray, she is influenced by her Freud loving, association by word, science and physiology loving friend Monica. Like I said, the movie was ahead of its time. None of this sadly would shock anyone in this day and time. Rhoda's weapons of choice were shoes with metal heel covers and pushing an old lady down five flights of stairs.
A side note, there are a few references about Monica dying soon in the movie..LeRoy says she is not long for this world and the impending information of Rhoda and Monica sunbathing on top of the building..Monica had love birds that little missy was interested in. Sadly, in real life, the actress that played Monica did die in 1958 at the age of 65. OK, so now I am thinking I am more the age of Monica. Ugh! Thankfully, we don't have to dress like older women did back in the day. All that dress wearing would have not been something I would have liked to do.