The Bad Seed (1956) Directed by Mervyn LeRoy
Patty McCormack as Rhoda Penmark and Henry Jones of Leroy Jessup

Leroy: Do you know the noise the electric chair makes? It goes “Zzzt!” And when that juice hits you, it parts your hair neat! “Bzzzt!” Like lightnin’ struck ya!
Rhoda: Oh, go on with your lawn mower. They don’t put little girls in the electric chair.
Leroy: They do! They got a little blue chair for little boys and a little pink chair for little gals!

14 Responses to “The Bad Seed (1956)”

  1. YAY! I like that his name is LeROY instead of LEEroy. This is the first (only?) scene where Rhoda shows just the teensiest bit of fear that’s real. All of the other fear (or any emotion for that matter) that she shows is purely for manipulation. Good one, CK!

  2. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen this movie – I remember it being kind of campy.

  3. Alison. It’s campy alright! That’s part of what makes it a good one. My favorite scene is when Hortense Daigle (Eileen Heckart) shows up hammered.

  4. lol, yep, that part I remember. I’ll have to revisit this one soon just for kicks.

  5. Hahah, I almost did the Hortense scene! That was a riot, but I figured how can I do a Bad Seed quote without quoting the Bad Seed herself? Of course, the best lines in this aren’t hers, but they can’t all be winners.

    I almost went with (paraphrasing) “Mommy? Can the police find blood even after you’ve washed it off?”

    Anyway, as enjoyable as this one is, I’m a little surprised it was nominated for multiple Oscars

  6. I saw an off-Broadway stage play last year that dramatized virtually every scene of this famous film. McCormack is in a vitual tie with Ann Blyth of MILDRED PIERCE as the ultimate screen baddie.

  7. The stage version actually preceded the movie version. In fact they had to alter the ending to appease the Hayes Code. ***SPOILER**** In the play Rhoda gets away with it and the mom dies from her gunshot wound, but in the movie Rhoda is struck by lighting and the mom recovers.

  8. True enough, but the stage version I SAW was not the original one, but one specifically written as a dramatization of the FILM.

  9. Ahh, gotcha. Did it end the same way as the film?

  10. Yes indeed Craig, they did retain it. The production wasn’t anything special though, and only reminded me that the film was the real thing. No masterpiece as we’ve agreed, but quite riveting.

  11. That seems kind of odd to me, especially since there was a ready made play already available.

  12. Indeed. But this was one of those off-off-Broadway productions that was staged on the seventh floor of a seedy industrial building on the lower east side with actors who were basically doing it for free. There were a total of 20 seats, and my entourage had three of those. I would bet they couldn’t even afford the royalties to stage Maxwell Anderson’s play, which in turn was an adaptation of a novel by William March written a year earlier.

    But on the front page of the program it said: “A dramatization of the film THE BAD SEED.”

    Bizarre I know. Ha!

  13. I’m auditioning for the part of Rhoda in theatre

  14. Hey, good luck with that…

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