Looking Back on The Bad Seed

For showtimes, click here

Despite being released more than 50 years ago, Patty McCormack, star of The Bad Seed, still receives fan mail. The role, a highlight in the actress’ career, showcased her talent, especially at a young age. While some actors forsake their early work, especially if it becomes a cult classic, McCormack finds its longevity something to be celebrated, and rightly so.

1. People worried she was really like Rhoda...

In fact, some even asked McCormack if she ever committed murder! Thankfully, the young star felt insulated, since she was enrolled in a professional child actor school, where other pupils understood that Rhoda was only a role. "The outside of Rhoda is so perfect that you just don't know how evil and destructive the inside is,” McCormack said. “I guess maybe it scares people that they don't know everything."

2. The film and play have different endings.

The play ends quite differently than the film due to the Movie Production Code, which established rules that movies should follow regarding acceptable content. McCormack said, "The Hayes Code pretty much stated that all murderers had to be punished." As a result, the film created a new ending. The revised conclusion was so secret that only three copies of that script were made, and the cast had to promise not to reveal anything.

3. McCormack was asked to play Rhoda’s mother.

Years after The Bad Seed was released, McCormack was offered the chance to play Rhoda's mother. However, she declined. As she put it, “I identified so strongly with Rhoda that I thought I never would have turned into the mother.” She did play Eileen Heckart’s part for a fundraiser though, and in 1995, she played a one-track-minded mother very similar to how Rhoda might have been in her later years in a film called Mommy.

4. McCormack appears in the remake!

It was only a matter of time before Rhoda reared her head again for a new generation... In 2018, Rob Lowe made his directorial debut and brought the remake to life. McCormack played a psychologist who observed the new Rhoda. “He was just wonderful. He wore many hats,” she said. “It was really good working with him because he has a way with communicating with actors.”

5. She loves the film’s legacy.

While some actors don't like to revisit the past, McCormack was pleasantly surprised that the audience didn’t forget. “It just seems never-ending. People enjoy this movie, and it doesn't seem old fashioned to them. They respond to it as though it was just made. That's mind blowing," she said.