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We never see Rosemary's baby.
 
I was surprised by this when I looked at the film last week in preparation
for a class, since, like David, I too had some memory of having seen its
face.  I looked at the film again just now to check and think it's fairly
clear that we do not see R's baby.  This becomes important for the effect
and interpretation of the film.
 
We do, however, see a baby and slit eyes.
 
When Rosemary has gone to another doctor to escape her husband and her
regular doctor, she thinks she is finally safe and rests, perhaps doses,
and has a dream/imagines herself after the baby is born and safe.  We see
her among a group of friends (not people from the coven) holding a healthy
looking baby.  We clearly see the baby's face--normal.  Then she awakens
and her husband and real doctor are there to take her away.
 
When she wakes up after the birth (which we do not see), Rosemary is first
told that the baby, a boy, is fine, then later, when she asks to see it,
that "there were complications" and it is "dead."  She doesn't believe this
and then hears a baby crying in the room next door.  Finally she enters
that apartment through the closet door.  In the main room, the coven is
gathered with a large, black, gauze-covered crib at one side.  Rosemary
moves slowly to the crib, bends down, and draws the black netting aside and
looks.  We see her do this, but not what she sees.  She reacts in horror
and moves away from the crib.  "What have you done to it?  What have you
done to its eyes?"  The coven leader replies: "He has his father's eyes."
There is then a sequence of 1-2 minutes.  Rosemary doesn't want to believe
this.   Her husband was its father!  She is then told the story that Satan
chose her and took her husband's place that evening 9 months earlier.  "No.
It can't be."  "Look at his hands.  Look at his feet."  Rosemary drops the
knife she has been holding and begins to almost faint, as it sinks in and
she begins to realize that what they say is true.  At this point,
double-imaged over/behind a close up of her face is a set of eyes with
vertical slits.  This image is recognizable for only 1/2 second or so.
(This part of David's memory is correct.)  These eyes are, however, those
of the father.  First, it is not a baby's face/forehead that's seen.
Second, here Rosemary remembers/senses what happened to her that night she
conceived--the face/eyes of who it was, confirming both that Satan is its
father (and she its mother).  Her "swoon" is the realization of this fact
and the "eyes" are an image/memory of Satan she had seen then and now
recalls, rather than of the baby.  She recovers and the film ends with her
going to the crib when the baby cries, rocking it, bending down to it, and
smiling--accepting it as her baby.*  The final shot is an elevated exterior
of the building with a lullaby on the soundtrack.
 
*This entire scene once she passes through the closet is a
repetition/parallel scene to that of the ceremony/rape scene 9 months
earlier (in which the face/forehead with the slit eyes also appears,
intercut between shots of her face so that she is looking directly into it,
and it is valuable to compare the two scenes visually.  In the first,
Rosemary is not completely unconscious, so that in the second she has the
sense of having been in that apartment with those people before.  This
builds to her final realization/acceptance that what had appeared to be a
bad dream was in fact real.*
 
That we don't see Rosemary's baby, especially its face, shifts the point of
final horror in the film.  As the camera begins to move from Rosemary's
(now a madonna's) face at the end, we expect, even hope, that the final
shot will be of the baby.  The camera moves downward but then stops at the
window, then cuts to outside.  The horror then is not what Rosemary's baby
looks like/is but what Rosemary looks like/is.  It lies in the fact that
she has moved from her first face of shock and fright (before what is evil)
to her final face of motherhood and acceptance, even love--love of/for THIS
something (what has happened to the evil? where has it gone?).   The
possibility of this transition is where the true terror in the film is.  If
we were given a view of Rosemary's baby, especially as a final shot, this
effect would be dissipated or even cancelled.
 
Jesse Kalin
Vassar College
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