Husbands from Hell: Guy Woodhouse from Rosemary’s Baby

SS.RosemarysBaby
While up late last night with newly minted Tommaso, I couldn’t help but thinking about the character Guy Woodhouse (played brilliantly by John Cassavetes)  from Polanksi’s brilliant Rosemary’s Baby (1969). Thinking about how Guy sold out Rosemary (Mia Farrow) and his unborn child to the local Satan worshippers in order to further his acting career ranks him amongst the scummiest husbands in film.  Here is the scene where Rosemary figures out the whole craziness, and Guy tries to reassure her that he was promised she wouldn’t be hurt:

So then I started thinking, who are some other scummy husbands in film, and the list i starting to take shape: Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) in The Shining (1980) is a layup. Jerry Lundegaard from Fargo (1996) would rank right up there, and Jerry Blake (Terry O’Quinn) from The Stepfather (1987) is a candidate as well. And if we head back, I imagine Gregory Anton (Charles Boyer) from George Cukor’s Gaslight (1944) and Tony Wendice (Ray Milland) from Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder (1954).

The best part of such a train of thought, is that it could go on for a long, long time….I can see it now, “The Top 100 Husbands from Hell.” I know it’s an odd moment to be thinking about such things, but for some reason Rosemary’s Baby, like The Shining, is just one of those films I can’t shake, and when it’s late at night with a baby in your hands, one needs things to think about. So, who would you add to the list?

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4 Responses to Husbands from Hell: Guy Woodhouse from Rosemary’s Baby

  1. Sean Gillies says:

    Ju Dou (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099902/) was the first Chinese film I saw that didn’t feature martial arts. The old husband in that film (played by Wei Li, I think) is a piece of work.

  2. sebastian6 says:

    Rosemary’s Baby is one of my favorite horror films because it does what the best horror films do- add a certain familiar casual demeanor to those perpetrating the horrors. The character of Guy Woodhouse is so likeable and jaunty that it’s hard not to be charmed by him at the beginning. And the fact that they never show the conversation taking place in which he sells out his wife makes it all the more appalling.

    Another scumbag husband you might want to include is De Niro’s Jake La Motta in Raging Bull. The only caveat being that his cruelty seems to come more from his stupidity and the culture around him than any true evil or soullessness. But he still treats women like property.

    Here’s an example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dS5eez_f4d8

    The only other one I can think of is Albert Spica, the Thief from Greenaway’s The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover

  3. Reverend says:

    @Sean
    Yeah, JuDou is an excellent example, and as soon as you said it it makes me think about Raise the Red Lantern, and the internecine battles between the wives because of the status and role of the husband—that adds a whole different element. Nice.

    @Sebastian6
    La Motta is an excellent example, and I think you are right about the culture surrounding him, the film itself really pushes that angle wherein the violence in the ring is constantly spilling outside of it.

    Albert Spica from The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover is a brilliant ick. He is one of the most evil villains of film. I’m still appalled by the thought of him…excellent choice–just his name, SPICA!

  4. sebastian6 says:

    Thanks.

    A request to do a whole entry on Jerry Lundegaard and the slow burn of Nordic white cold insanity. What an amazingly cruel guy with a Wonder Bread smile.

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