Ted Post, USA, 1973, 84 min.
The Baby is a film that feels like it could only have been made in the 70’s. The story centers on an odd family: a mother, two adult daughters, and the adult son who has the mental capacity of a baby and acts just like one.
David Mooney plays the son, who everyone calls Baby, and he goes all out. He plays the character like a literal baby. There is no subtlety in that performance which includes crawling, crying, diapers, and breast-feeding. All done by a full-grown man, which is part of the reason this film could not have been made today. It’s just wrong and many many levels. The film even dubs over the character’s voice with the sound of a real baby crying, which is as odd as it sounds.
Besides Baby’s condition, everything seems pretty normal in the family until a social worker starts prying into their affairs. That’s when some of the really odd things about the family come to light, and a few odd things about the social worker as well. Why is she obsessed with Baby so much?
Intrigued? Then you will like this film. The execution is standard, and the performances are on par for an upper-tier grindhouse film. The real joy was watching the wrong-ness unfold on the screen and trying to figure out which of the many possible disturbing endings was going to happen.
All in all, this is just a great oddity. A film steeped in the time, place and attitude of when and where it was filmed. And one that any self-respecting film-connousier would love to see.