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Film Details

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The Bad Seed

“I thought I seen some mean little gals in my time, but you’re the meanest."

It’s October, which means it’s time for some scares! This year, we’re celebrating with those lovable little children who just are downright bad. Our first film of the series gives us a young girl who turns out to be a malicious killer, but only because it’s her way to get the things that she wants. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we kick off our Naughty Children series with Mervyn LeRoy’s 1956 classic “The Bad Seed.” We talk about why this film works for us in all of its campy, over-the-top theatrical glory and how those elements may actually help make it more enjoyable today. We chat about the performances, notably Patty McCormack, Nancy Kelly, Henry Jones, Eileen Heckart and Evelyn Varden, and how well they worked for us, particularly Kelly and McCormack as mother and her murderous offspring. We discuss the Hays Code and how it influenced the filmmakers to change the ending, even if the ending ends up being almost more censorable. We touch on the script and the amount of subtext in the characters’ dialogue, particularly the women who were always trying to live up to the 50s housewife standards. And we hit on the cinematography and music, noting how well the music works but how standard the cinematography feels. It’s a fun film that may not be the top of our lists but is a very easy watch. Check it out then tune in!

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