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The Bad Seed [DVD] [1956]

Release Date:08/10/2004
This melodramatic thriller about a very, very bad little girl comes to DVD in a presentation which should please the members of its cult following. The Bad Seed has been transferred to disc in the full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and the audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Mono. The dialogue is in English, with optional subtitles in English, Spanish, and French. Bonus materials include a commentary track featuring actress Patty McCormack and critic Charles Busch, a short documentary in which McCormack talks about the making of the film, and the movie's original trailer.

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    Ratings & Reviews

    Overall Customer Rating:
    100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (7 out of 7)

    Special Features

    • Commentary by Patty McCormack and Charles Busch
    • New making-of documentary "Enfant Terrible: A Conversation With Patty McCormack"
    • Theatrical trailer
    • Subtitles: English, Français, and Español
    • Closed Captioned


    The Bad Seed
    Can evil be inherited? That's the question posed by Maxwell Anderson in his stage play The Bad Seed. This 1956 film adaptation stars many actors from the Broadway version, including Nancy Kelly, Patty McCormack, Henry Jones and Eileen Heckart. Young McCormack plays Rhoda, a too-good-to-be-true grade schooler who occasionally exhibits a vicious streak whenever things don't turn out her way. During a picnic, one of Rhoda's schoolmates is drowned; the victim is a boy who'd won a penmanship medal that Rhoda had coveted. Nancy Kelly, the girl's mother, slowly comes to the horrible conclusion that Rhoda was responsible for the boy's death--a suspicion fueled by the discovery that Kelly, who was adopted as an infant, is the daughter of a convicted murderess. Meanwhile, a moronic handyman (Henry Jones) accidentally tumbles to Rhoda's secret, whereupon he is "accidentally" burned to death. Realizing that Rhoda must be stopped before she can kill again, and reasoning that the authorities would never believe the truth, Kelly tries to put the girl to sleep permanently with barbituates, then shoots herself. The play's ironic ending--the mother dies, while the unsuspected Rhoda lives on--is sacrificed for a "divine retribution" finale in the film, with Rhoda being punished by a convenient bolt of lightning. This alteration is acceptable, but director Mervin LeRoy further gilds the lily with an asinine closing-credits sequence wherein Nancy Kelly throws Patty McCormack over her knee and administers a spanking! The 1985 TV movie remake of The Bad Seed retains the play's original ending, but all in all is not half as entertaining as the 1956 version (its hokey denouement notwithstanding). McCormack later starred in Max Allan Collins' unofficial 1995 sequel Mommy. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Cast & Crew

    • Nancy Kelly
      Nancy Kelly - Mrs. Christine Penmark
    • Image coming soon
      Patty McCormack - Rhoda Penmark
    • Henry Jones
      Henry Jones - LeRoy, Handyman
    • Eileen Heckart
      Eileen Heckart - Mrs. Daigle
    • Evelyn Varden
      Evelyn Varden - Monica Breedlove

    Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.