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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Mid-Century Eclectic: Cinema Classics From the '40s, '50s, and '60s at Roxie

Posted By on Thu, May 12, 2016 at 1:00 PM

Theatrical Release Poster - WARNER BROS
  • Warner Bros
  • Theatrical Release Poster
A Sunday evening screening of the classic chiller The Bad Seed (1956) will serve as the centerpiece for Mid-Century Eclectica festival of art house classics playing at the Roxie, May 13-16 Patty McCormack, who scored an Oscar nomination as the film's 9-year-old serial killer, will appear at the Roxie after the Sunday showing. 

"It's hard to say something new about the film," McCormack told SF Weekly. The actress, who's portrayed dozens of roles since, is still asked about her signature role regularly. 


McCormack recalls that as a child she didn't fully comprehend the significance of her Oscar nomination. "I didn't understand it the way I do now," she said. "My point of view was that of a kid. My thoughts were child-like. My thoughts at the time were that I'd rather be somewhere else."

Yet she remains quite fond of the film, which guarantees her place in the canon of film history. The role, and her nomination, enabled her to earn a living as an actress, which continues to be her profession six decades later.

"I love what I do," she said. "It's a part of me. I'd miss it if it went away."

She admits to a fondness for independent films, and has appeared in a number of them "They're fun," she said. "You feel like you're still cooking. As you go into a different age you become available for different things."

McCormack certainly cooked in The Bad Seed, a film that's considered a hybrid of horror films and film noir. Her performance as Rhoda, the seemingly adorable little girl with pigtails that masked her evil nature, continues to terrify audiences. At the time of it's initial release, Warner Brothers tagged the film with an "Adults Only" rating.

Other troubled kids will be on view in Mid-Century Eclectic.In the wildly bizarre Rapture (1965) a teenage girl falls in love with an escaped convict (Dean Stockwell) who she thinks is her scarecrow come to life. Rene Clements Forbidden Games (1952) features children who escape the horrors of World War II via a fantasy world.

Troubled adults will also be on view in Mid-Century Eclectic. In 1960's The Savage EyeBarbara Baxley stars as a woman engaged in bizarre conversations with her conscience (Gary Merrill). A total of twelve wildly original films will be shown, and not a sequel or a remake among them.

"When we did it there was nothing like it at the time," McCormack said of The Bad Seed. "It couldn't be redone today because we used the culture of that time."

McCormack's words could easily apply to the entire festival. The full schedule for Mid-Century Eclectic can be seen here

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