The Bad Seed
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Can evil be inherited? That's the question posed by Maxwell Anderson in his stage play The Bad Seed. This 1956 film adaptation stars many actors from the Broadway version, including Nancy Kelly, Patty McCormack, Henry Jones and Eileen Heckart. Young McCormack plays Rhoda, a too-good-to-be-true grade schooler who occasionally exhibits a vicious streak whenever things don't turn out her way. During a picnic, one of Rhoda's schoolmates is drowned; the victim is a boy who'd won a penmanship medal that Rhoda had coveted. Nancy Kelly, the girl's mother, slowly comes to the… More
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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 68%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Director LeRoy has been overly faithful to the play script."
‑ , TIME Magazine
"1956 was way too soon for an unfettered treatment of the central premise."
‑ , Time Out
"The 'secret' villain is the missing father - or we should say, the mother for trying to child-rear by herself ... The bad seed is dead - but single parents, be warned."
‑ Matthew Sorrento, Film Threat
"An erratic but compelling film that lingers long after the fade-out."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"A classic reason for getting your tubes tied."
‑ Brandon Judell, PopcornQ
"This melodrama about a child with an inbred talent for homicide is pretty unpleasant stuff on its own."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"Overlong, stiff, and about as suspenseful as a detergent commercial."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"The dark drama that launched a genre of evil-kid movies. [Blu-ray]"
‑ Peter Canavese, Groucho Reviews
"Excellent, chilling classic with McCormack as perfect demon child."
‑ Steve Crum, Video-Reviewmaster.com
"Wrung to the point of unwatchable by meandering monologues and slow reveals."
‑ Walter Chaw, Film Freak Central
"Mervyn LeRoy, who produced and directed, has lost a great deal of the bite of the play."
‑ Bosley Crowther, New York Times
"A near perfect thriller..."
‑ Felix Vasquez Jr., Cinema Crazed
"...it's hard now to see what all the fuss was about."
‑ John J. Puccio, Movie Metropolis
"Scandalous, scary and popular, but extremely outdated , this well-acted melodrama was one of the first to deal with criminal conduct as biologically conditioned"
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"...behind the blonde, pigtailed facade lurks a sinister and slippery sociopath."
‑ Staci Layne Wilson, Horror.com
More reviews for The Bad Seed on Rotten Tomatoes

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