The Bad Seed: A Vintage Movie Classic

The Bad Seed: A Vintage Movie Classic

by William March


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The bestselling novel that inspired Mervyn LeRoy’s classic horror film about the little girl who can get away with anything—even murder.
There’s something special about eight-year-old Rhoda Penmark. With her carefully plaited hair and her sweet cotton dresses, she’s the very picture of old-fashioned innocence. But when their neighborhood suffers a series of terrible accidents, her mother begins to wonder: Why do bad things seem to happen when little Rhoda is around?
Originally published in 1954, William March’s final novel was an instant bestseller and National Book Award finalist before it was adapted for the stage and made into a 1956 film. The Bad Seed is an indelible portrait of an evil that wears an innocent face, one which still resonates in popular culture today. 

With a new foreword by Anna Holmes.

Vintage Movie Classics spotlights classic films that have stood the test of time, now rediscovered through the publication of the novels on which they were based.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101872659
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/03/2015
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 260,417
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

William March (1893–1954), born William Edward March Campbell in Mobile, Alabama, was an American novelist and short-story writer. He served in the Marines during World War I, and was recognized with the Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross, and the Croix de Guerre. His first novel, Company K, was based largely on his wartime experiences. A prolific writer of short stories, he was a four-time winner of the O. Henry Prize. The Bad Seed was an immediate critical and commercial success, the source for a Tony Award-winning Broadway play and a finalist for the National Book Award. Sadly, March died of a heart attack just weeks after publication.

Read an Excerpt


Excerpted from "The Bad Seed"
by .
Copyright © 2015 William March.
Excerpted by permission of Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Bad Seed: A Vintage Movie Classic 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked the movies more! Both of them were better than the book. Most likely the book was better than the movie in a literary since. As for entertainment, I definitely suggest the movies. My first suggestion is to read the book first! Simone 24
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't know if this is the earliest story about an evil child, but it is probably one of the earliest. The author takes the unusual route of making said evil child a girl rather than a boy -- sociopathy is not unknown in females, but it is mostly the domain of males. Rhoda Penmark is outwardly the perfect child: polite, well-behaved (except to her victims, of course), perfectly groomed, a good student. People adore her. But there are a handful, most of them other children, who sense there is something not right about her -- a group that is starting to include her mother Christine. To her horror, Christine discovers that Rhoda is not only selfish and greedy, but a cold-blooded murderer. Rhoda has in fact killed at least two people, one of them a classmate, who had something she wanted. She also killed her puppy simply because she was bored with it. And as if that's not bad enough, Rhoda's evil may be inherited: Christine's other horrifying discovery is that she herself is the biological child of a notorious serial killer named Bessie Denker. Bessie's evil apparently skipped a generation and showed up in Rhoda. The 1956 big screen adaptation ends differently than the book, and Rhoda is a blonde rather than a brunette, but otherwise it's pretty faithful. It's also much better than the two subsequent adaptations, both of them TV movies (Rhoda is renamed Rachel in one, Emma in the other). They keep the book's ending, but they're terrible. Stick with the book and the 1956 movie.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Christine Penmark appears to have it all A comfortable lifestyle, caring friends and neighbors, a loving husband, and a picture perfect daughter that is not at all what she appears to be Although this is an old book with 2 movies having been adapted from it, I won't divulge any spoilers just in case this is new to the reader Suffice it to say, the author was original and progessive in this book He did not need gore to set the tone of a psycological thriller that leaves you thinking about the effects of nature versus nurture Read the book and watch the movie Both are worth your time This is an oldie but a goodie and blazed the trail for many other similar plots One of my all time favorites
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story about a true criminally insane child.