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Trivia / The Bad Seed (1956)

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  • Completely Different Title:
    • Brazil: Damned Tara
    • Hungary: Cursed Children
    • Italy: The Black Lily
    • Netherlands: Guilty Blood
    • Norway: Dangerous Legacy
    • Sweden: The Evil Legacy
  • Executive Meddling: In the book, the original play and the two Made-for-TV Movie remakes, the girl survives her parent's attempt to murder her. However, at the time of the original film, the Hays code would not allow a murderer to go unpunished, but the Code also frowned upon children being the victims of homicides, putting director-producer Mervyn LeRoy in a bind as to finding a suitable punishment for Rhoda's monstrous misdeeds that didn't involve her being killed by an adult. Ultimately a scene was tacked onto the end of the film showing Rhoda dying via a literal Bolt of Divine Retribution. Likewise, suicide was disallowed by the Hays Code, so the ending was rewritten to confirm that Christine survives and—more importantly in terms of the Code—regrets her attempt.
    • As if that wasn't enough, in a post-credits scene, after the rest of the cast step onscreen and take bows, the actresses portraying Rhoda and her mother come out of character so that Patty McCormack can get, on-screen, the spanking it's implied her character should have had long ago. Although in the novel Christine does think, after finding the medal hidden in Rhoda's bureau, that her daughter needs a good spanking.
      • The curtain-call scene is twofold meddling. On its surface, it's a Call-Back to the original famous play (since coming out and taking bows is commonplace in live theater). In truth, it's actually meant to reassure the audience. Executives were concerned that such a dark ending—and the movie was considered extremely dark and controversial for its time—would prove so shocking that it might turn the audience off movies for good. The humorous spanking was thrown in as a last-minute moment of tension-breaking levity.
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  • Spoiler: The film's endcard is a polite request for the audience not to spoil the ending for others.
  • What Could Have Been: Along with the two Made-for-TV Movie remakes, there was a serious attempt to do a cinematic remake in the early 1990s but it ended up going nowhere. The producer's first choice to play Rhoda would have been Rebecca Harrell, who had just come off of playing the lead in Prancer.