22 October 2014

The Bad Seed (1956)
129 min.
Directed by Mervyn LeRoy.
With Nancy Kelly, Patty McCormack, Henry Jones, Eileen Heckart, Evelyn Varden, William Hopper.
McCormack plays Rhoda, the malevolent little girl in pigtails, who is so spoiled and intent on getting her way, she commits murder to get what she wants.

Long and at times stagy (it was based on a successful play), this one has a message abhorrent to the politically correct crowd. That is to say, the unpopular belief that being predisposed to crime can be genetic and not just attributed to one's environment.

McCormack, Kelly, and particularly Heckart as the alcoholic, grieving mother of one of the girl's victims, are quite good and the three received Oscar nominations. Aside from its rather unruly length, the film suffers slightly from a tacked on ending demanded by the censors, and a strange curtain call in which the actors all take a bow, reminding the audience that it's 'just a movie, folks!'

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