Ted Post’s 1973 film The Baby takes us into the nursery of a very special boy…
For example, how did that woman know how to work that machine gun? How did he fall from the fifth story window and still walk away? or…
…How has that family kept a man in their house as an infant for the last twenty-something years and not have anyone call them on it?
The latter is the basis for The Baby, a genre film that really brings the crazy.
Social worker Ann Gentry (Anjanette Comer) lives a life of sorrow as the result of an automotive accident at her own hand which permanently incapacitated her husband. Cohabitating with her mother in law in a house full of empty memories, Ann spends her evenings in a dark room, watching slide shows of the life that she once had with a man she no longer knows. Looking for something to fill the need to love and be loved, Ann seeks out a notorious case involving a family of three women and a man living as an infant.
During a strained initial meeting we get to meet the Wadsworth family whose members are mother Mrs. Wadsworth, played by classic film star Ruth Roman in an unbelievably nasty role, the mysterious sister Germaine played by character actress Marianna Hill, and the slutty younger sister Alba played by Susanne Zenor. Ann can tell that things aren’t what they’re cracked up to be, and of course this further piques her curiosity. Upon the family’s reluctance, Ann is introduced to the person known only as “Baby”, a man in his early 20’s who literally lives as a baby – diapers, crib and all.
Ann feels that the only way to help rehabilitate Baby is to try and advance his development by interactive playing and attempting to stand on his own. No shit. The actor who portrays Baby (David Manzy) is uncomfortably spot on. His whines and coos as well as his body language really convey the infantile behavior that is holding him hostage and really gives you the creeps.
Baby’s family keeps him at bay via torture and humiliation – closet time, shame, and a fucking cattle prod (yup,.). In one scene involving a babysitter (who the fuck would babysit for this family?!?), Baby engages the girl in an attempt to suckle at her breast – which she permits. And of course just in time for the rest of the family to get home.
Once the women discover the “breastfeeding”, Mrs. Wadsworth grabs a belt and while the sisters hold the girl down, proceeds to whip the shit out of the babysitter. After fearing that they may kill her, the family release her with the stipulation that if she tells they will accuse her of molestation.
Wow. No shit. The movie gets weirder from there.
The family gets so fed up with Ann’s visits and attempts at rehabilitating Baby that they file a complaint with Social Services and have her removed from the case. This, of course creates a shit storm, with Ann threatening to turn the family in, and the family conceding with ulterior motives.
I really want to tell you the rest, but seriously it gets pretty crazy from here and I just can’t bring myself to spoilers.
The Baby is a tale of female dominance. Mrs. Wadsworth has had three different children from three different men who have all abandoned her and has decided that Baby is going to be the punching bag. Baby is subjected to all kinds of humiliation – specifically prohibiting his development as a human being.
But Ann is no angel either.
This is a pretty obscure title and luckily there is a pretty decent copy on YouTube that I have attached below. This is some exploitation at its best and a film that comes highly recommended by Mrs. Sleazoid herself! Give this little known gem a watch and you seriously will not be disappointed!