The Bad Seed (1956)

MERVYN LeROY

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5

USA, 1956Warner Bros..  Screenplay by , based on the play by , from the novel by . Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 1956.  Golden Globe Awards 1956.  

Horrendously dated film feels like you’re watching the filming of a live stage play. Nancy Kelly plays a widowed mother to a seemingly perfect young girl (Patty McCormack), going about her life happily enough until she finds out that her little angel might actually be a bit of a demon. A murdering demon, actually, as it turns out that McCormack doesn’t have any sense of moral conflict when it comes to hurting or killing people to get what she wants. Naturally, Kelly wanders around her house wringing her hands and weeping until a wise doctor comes along and solves everything. Director Mervyn Leroy’s unimaginative direction hardly ever captures more than one angle of the main living room set that the film takes place in, awkwardly revealing its stage origins. Kelly is astute in the lead, however, and Eileen Heckart lends excellent support as the mother of one of the little girl’s victims.

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