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Rosemary’s Baby: A Book-to-Film Comparison

The 1968 film adaptation of Ira Levin's 1967 novel bears more resemblance to a faithful transcription than an adaptation, as such – as you can read on this page. Despite this, the film is often miscredited with having introduced content and themes that are in fact carried over directly from the book.

For some direct comparisons of the book and the film, click on a video below, and read along with the novel's unedited text.

We greatly encourage anyone seeking an accurate understanding of the relationship between the two works to be sure to read the book – and not rely solely on potential past misattributions.

IT'S ALIVE
Novel (text is scrollable)

By two o’clock everyone had gone and they were alone in the living room, with dirty glasses and used napkins and spilling over ashtrays all around. ("Don’t forget," Elise had whispered, leaving. Not very likely.)

"The thing to do now," Guy said, "is move."

"Guy."

"Yes?"

"I’m going to Dr. Hill. Monday morning."

He said nothing, looking at her.

"I want him to examine me," she said. "Dr. Sapirstein is either lying or else he’s—I don’t know, out of his mind. Pain like this is a warning that something is wrong."

"Rosemary," Guy said.

"And I’m not drinking Minnie’s drink any more," she said. "I want vitamins in pills, like everybody else. I haven’t drunk it for three days now. I’ve made her leave it here and I’ve thrown it away."

"You’ve—"

"I’ve made my own drink instead," she said.

He drew together all his surprise and anger and, pointing back over his shoulder toward the kitchen, cried it at her. "Is that what those bitches were giving you in there? Is that their hint for today? Change doctors?"

"They’re my friends," she said; "don’t call them bitches."

"They’re a bunch of not-very-bright bitches who ought to mind their own God-damned business."

"All they said was get a second opinion."

"You’ve got the best doctor in New York, Rosemary. Do you know what Dr. Hill is? Charley Nobody, that’s what he is."

"I’m tired of hearing how great Dr. Sapirstein is," she said, starting to cry, "when I’ve got this pain inside me since before Thanksgiving and all he does is tell me it’s going to stop!"

"You’re not changing doctors," Guy said. "We’ll have to pay Sapirstein and pay Hill too. It’s out of the question."

"I’m not going to change," Rosemary said; "I’m just going to let Hill examine me and give his opinion."

"I won’t let you," Guy said. "It’s—it’s not fair to Sapirstein."

"Not fair to—What are you talking about? What about what’s fair to me?"

"You want another opinion? All right. Tell Sapirstein; let him be the one who decides who gives it. At least have that much courtesy to the top man in his field."

"I want Dr. Hill;" she said. "If you won’t pay I’ll pay my—" She stopped short and stood motionless, paralyzed, no part of her moving. A tear slid on a curved path toward the corner of her mouth.

"Ro?" Guy said. The pain had stopped. It was gone. Like a stuck auto horn finally put right. Like anything that stops and is gone and is gone for good and won’t ever be back again, thank merciful heaven. Gone and finished and oh, how good she might possibly feel as soon as she caught her breath!

"Ro?" Guy said, and took a step forward, worried.

"It stopped," she said. "The pain."

"Stopped?" he said.

"Just now." She managed to smile at him. "It stopped. Just like that." She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, and deeper still, deeper than she had been allowed to breathe for ages and ages. Since before Thanksgiving. When she opened her eyes Guy was still looking at her, still looking worried.

"What was in the drink you made?" he asked. Her heart dropped out of her. She had killed the baby. With the sherry. Or a bad egg. Or the combination. The baby had died, the pain had stopped. The pain was the baby and she had killed it with her arrogance.

"An egg," she said. "Milk. Cream. Sugar." She blinked, wiped at her cheek, looked at him.

"Sherry," she said, trying to make it sound non-toxic.

"How much sherry?" he asked.

Something moved in her.

"A lot?"

Again, where nothing had ever moved before. A rippling little pressure. She giggled.

"Rosemary, for Christ’s sake, how much?"

"It’s alive," she said, and giggled again. "It’s moving. It’s all right; it isn’t dead. It’s moving." She looked down at her brown-velvet stomach and put her hands on it and pressed in lightly. Now two things were moving, two hands or feet; one here, one there.

She reached for Guy, not looking at him; snapped her fingers quickly for his hand. He came closer and gave it. She put it to the side of her stomach and held it there. Obligingly the movement came.

"You feel it?" she asked, looking at him. "There, again; you feel it?"

He jerked his hand away, pale. "Yes," he said. "Yes. I felt it."

"It’s nothing to be afraid of," she said, laughing. "It won’t bite you."

"It’s wonderful," he said.

"Isn’t it?" She held her stomach again, looking down at it. "It’s alive. It’s kicking. It’s in there."

"I’ll clean up some of this mess," Guy said, and picked up an ashtray and a glass and another glass.
 

Copyright 1967 Author Levin LLC, Renewed 1995

GUY AND ROMAN SEATED 'OUT OF FRAME'
Novel

"Would you like me to wash and you wipe for a while?"

"No, this is fine, dear," Mrs. Castevet said.

Rosemary looked outside the door. She could see only the end of the living room that was bridge tables and file cabinets; Guy and Mr. Castevet were at the other end. A plane of blue cigarette smoke lay motionless in the air.


Copyright 1967 Author Levin LLC, Renewed 1995

'DREAM' SEQUENCE
Novel (text is scrollable)

He put her down on the bed and sat beside her, taking her hand and stroking her forehead sympathetically. She closed her eyes. The bed was a raft that floated on gentle ripples, tilting and swaying pleasantly. “Nice,” she said.

“Sleep is what you need,” Guy said, stroking her forehead. “A good night’s sleep.”

“We have to make a baby.”

“We will. Tomorrow. There’s plenty of time.”

“Missing the mass.”

“Sleep. Get a good night’s sleep. Go on . . .”

“Just a nap,” she said, and was sitting with a drink in her hand on President Kennedy’s yacht. It was sunny and breezy, a perfect day for a cruise. The President, studying a large map, gave terse and knowing instructions to a Negro mate.

Guy had taken off the top of her pajamas. “Why are you taking them off?” she asked.

“To make you more comfortable,” he said.

“I’m comfortable.”

“Sleep, Ro.”

He undid the snaps at her side and slowly drew off the bottoms. Thought she was asleep and didn’t know. Now she had nothing on at all except a red bikini, but the other women on the yacht—Jackie Kennedy, Pat Lawford, and Sarah Churchill—were wearing bikinis too, so it was all right, thank goodness. The President was in his Navy uniform. He had completely recovered from the assassination and looked better than ever. Hutch was standing on the dock with armloads of weather-forecasting equipment. “Isn’t Hutch coming with us?” Rosemary asked the President.

“Catholics only,” he said, smiling. “I wish we weren’t bound by these prejudices, but unfortunately we are.”

“But what about Sarah Churchill?” Rosemary asked.

She turned to point, but Sarah Churchill was gone and the family was there in her place: Ma, Pa, and everybody, with the husbands, wives, and children. Margaret was pregnant, and so were Jean and Dodie and Ernestine.

Guy was taking off her wedding ring. She wondered why, but was too tired to ask. “Sleep,” she said, and slept.

It was the first time the Sistine Chapel had been opened to the public and she was inspecting the ceiling on a new elevator that carried the visitor through the chapel horizontally, making it possible to see the frescoes exactly as Michelangelo, painting them, had seen them. How glorious they were! She saw God extending his finger to Adam, giving him the divine spark of life; and the underside of a shelf partly covered with gingham contact paper as she was carried backward through the linen closet. “Easy,” Guy said, and another man said, “You’ve got her too high.”

“Typhoon!” Hutch shouted from the dock amid all his weather-forecasting equipment. “Typhoon! It killed fifty-five people in London and it’s heading this way!” And Rosemary knew he was right. She must warn the President. The ship was heading for disaster.

But the President was gone. Everyone was gone. The deck was infinite and bare, except for, far away, the Negro mate holding the wheel unremittingly on its course.

Rosemary went to him and saw at once that he hated all white people, hated her. “You’d better go down below, Miss,” he said, courteous but hating her, not even waiting to hear the warning she had brought.

Below was a huge ballroom where on one side a church burned fiercely and on the other a black-bearded man stood glaring at her. In the center was a bed. She went to it and lay down, and was suddenly surrounded by naked men and women, ten or a dozen, with Guy among them. They were elderly, the women grotesque and slack-breasted. Minnie and her friend Laura-Louise were there, and Roman in a black miter and a black silk robe. With a thin black wand he was drawing designs on her body, dipping the wand’s point in a cup of red held for him by a sun-browned man with a white moustache. The point moved back and forth across her stomach and down ticklingly to the insides of her thighs. The naked people were chanting—flat, unmusical, foreign-tongued syllables—and a flute or clarinet accompanied them. “She’s awake, she sees!” Guy whispered to Minnie. He was large-eyed, tense. “She don’t see,” Minnie said. “As long as she ate the mouse she can’t see nor hear. She’s like dead. Now sing.”

Jackie Kennedy came into the ballroom in an exquisite gown of ivory satin embroidered with pearls. “I’m so sorry to hear you aren’t feeling well,” she said, hurrying to Rosemary’s side.

Rosemary explained about the mouse-bite, minimizing it so Jackie wouldn’t worry.

“You’d better have your legs tied down,” Jackie said, “in case of convulsions.”

“Yes, I suppose so,” Rosemary said. “There’s always a chance it was rabid.” She watched with interest as white-smocked interns tied her legs, and her arms too, to the four bedposts.

“If the music bothers you,” Jackie said, “let me know and I’ll have it stopped.”

“Oh, no,” Rosemary said. “Please don’t change the program on my account. It doesn’t bother me at all, really it doesn’t.”

Jackie smiled warmly at her. “Try to sleep,” she said. “We’ll be waiting up on deck.” She withdrew, her satin gown whispering.

Rosemary slept a while, and then Guy came in and began making love to her. He stroked her with both hands—a long, relishing stroke that began at her bound wrists, slid down over her arms, breasts, and loins, and became a voluptuous tickling between her legs. He repeated the exciting stroke again and again, his hands hot and sharp-nailed, and then, when she was ready-ready-more-than-ready, he slipped a hand in under her buttocks, raised them, lodged his hardness against her, and pushed it powerfully in. Bigger he was than always; painfully, wonderfully big. He lay forward upon her, his other arm sliding under her back to hold her, his broad chest crushing her breasts. (He was wearing, because it was to he a costume party, a suit of coarse leathery armor.) Brutally, rhythmically, he drove his new hugeness. She opened her eyes and looked into yellow furnace-eyes, smelled sulphur and tannis root, felt wet breath on her mouth, heard lust-grunts and the breathing of onlookers.

This is no dream, she thought. This is real, this is happening. Protest woke in her eyes and throat, but something covered her face, smothering her in a sweet stench.

The hugeness kept driving in her, the leathery body banging itself against her again and again and again.

The Pope came in with a suitcase in his hand and a coat over his arm. “Jackie tells me you’ve been bitten by a mouse,” he said.

“Yes,” Rosemary said. “That’s why I didn’t come see you.” She spoke sadly, so he wouldn’t suspect she had just had an orgasm.

“That’s all right,” he said. “We wouldn’t want you to jeopardize your health.”

“Am I forgiven. Father?” she asked.

“Absolutely,” he said. He held out his hand for her to kiss the ring. Its stone was a silver filigree ball less than an inch in diameter; inside it, very tiny, Anna Maria Alberghetti sat waiting.

Rosemary kissed it and the Pope hurried out to catch his plane.


Copyright 1967 Author Levin LLC, Renewed 1995

MINNIE THROUGH THE PEEPHOLE
Novel

On the following Monday morning Rosemary was putting away the last of a double armload of groceries when the doorbell rang; and the peephole showed Mrs. Castevet, white hair in curlers under a blue-and-white kerchief, looking solemnly straight ahead as if waiting for the click of a passport photographer's camera.


Copyright 1967 Author Levin LLC, Renewed 1995

MIDNIGHT SNACK
Novel

Not long after telling Dr. Sapirstein about the nearly raw meat, Rosemary found herself chewing on a raw and dripping chicken heart—in the kitchen one morning at four-fifteen. She looked at herself in the side of the toaster, where her moving reflection had caught her eye, and then looked at her hand, at the part of the heart she hadn't yet eaten held in red-dripping fingers. After a moment she went over and put the heart in the garbage, and turned on the water and rinsed her hand. Then, with the water still running, she bent over the sink and began to vomit.


Copyright 1967 Author Levin LLC, Renewed 1995

YOU MANIACS
Novel (text is scrollable)

She looked at them watching her and knife-in-hand screamed at them, "What have you done to his eyes?"

They stirred and looked to Roman.

"He has His Father's eyes," he said.

She looked at him, looked at Guy—whose eyes were hidden behind a hand—looked at Roman again. "What are you talking about?" she said. "Guy's eyes are brown, they're normal! What have you done to him, you maniacs?" She moved from the bassinet, ready to kill them.

"Satan is His Father, not Guy," Roman said. "Satan is His Father, who came up from Hell and begat a Son of mortal woman! To avenge the iniquities visited by the God worshipers upon His never-doubting followers!"

"Hail Satan," Mr. Wees said.

"Satan is His Father and His name is Adrian!" Roman cried, his voice growing louder and prouder, his bearing more strong and forceful. "He shall overthrow the mighty and lay waste their temples! He shall redeem the despised and wreak vengeance in the name of the burned and the tortured!"

"Hail Adrian," they said. "Hail Adrian." "Hail Adrian." And "Hail Satan." "Hail Satan." "Hail Adrian." "Hail Satan."

She shook her head. "No," she said.

Minnie said, "He chose you out of all the world, Rosemary. Out of all the women in the whole world, He chose you."


Copyright 1967 Author Levin LLC, Renewed 1995