Looking Back on The Bad Seed

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, highlights her talent, especially at a young age. While some actors forsake their early work, Patty finds its longevity something to be celebrated, and rightly so.

1. Patty was asked to play Rhoda’s mother.

She declined the part because, as she put it, “I identified so strongly with Rhoda that I thought I never would have turned into [the mother].” However, she did play Eileen Heckart’s part for a fundraiser, and in 1995, played a one-track-minded mother very similar to Rhoda in Mommy.

2. The film and play have different endings.

The play ends quite differently that the film due to the production code. McCormack said, "The Hayes Code pretty much stated that all murderers had to be punished." The changed ending was so secret that only three copies of the script were made and the cast had to promise not to reveal anything.

3. Patty was in the remake.

It was only a matter of time before Rhoda reared her head again. In YEAR, Rob Lowe, directing for the first time, brought the story to life, and McCormack had a role opposite the new Rhoda playing a psychologist. “He was just wonderful. He wore many hats,” Patty said. “It was really good working with him because he has a way to communicate with actors.”

4. People worried Patty was like Rhoda.

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

5. Patty loves the film’s legacy.

In the 1950s, actors weren’t prone to focus on past projects, lest they be thought of as a has-been. Of course, with a role like Rhoda, McCormack was pleasantly surprised that the audience didn’t forget. “It just seems never-ending that people are enjoying this movie and that it doesn't seem old fashioned to them. People respond to it as though it was just made, and that's mind blowing."