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Bad Girl, Bad Seed, Give Her Those Shoes Leroy

Updated on October 4, 2015
LillyGrillzit profile image

The good old days are a myth. People have been messed up as long as there have been resources to steal. The Bad Seed, by Wm March (1958)

Oct. 04, 2010 Updated August 27, 2014

But She Looks So Innocent...

Peadey Gives the Evil Eye
Peadey Gives the Evil Eye | Source

Rhoda Is A Bad Seed

When it comes to the scariest Monsters of all time, I list little Rhoda Penmark . This psycho-thriller, The Bad Seed, was written in an earlier time. Life was simple, but becoming more complex, partially due to an increased awareness of Criminal Psychology.

An interesting Novel published April 6,1954. "The Bad Seed" was written by William March . William Campbell March was an interesting character himself, with a life that would also make an excellent novel. He was a poor Southern child. The oldest son born into a family of eleven children. They grew up in a lumber mill town, that did not afford educational opportunities. March did work in the mill office as a teen, and later worked in a law office.

William March enlisted in the Marines at the start of WW1 he got mustard gas poisoning from soil that had previously been saturated, while he was searching firewood. At the end of his prestigious military career from which he earned medals for bravery and heroism, he continued his education, that included Creative Writing classes. He published "Company K", in 1933. "The Looking Glass" was published in 1943, and "The Bad Seed" was the last novel he published. It came out on April 6, 1954, and he passed May 15, 1954.

Sadly, he did not live long enough for him realize the fame and recognition that came with the showing of the Movie: The Bad Seed. The Screenplay was written by Maxwell Anderson, and this televised play is Directed by Mervyn LeRoy debuted in 1956..

Sigmund Freud was a mover and shaker in the 'psych' fields during the early 1900s. He was talking openly about S-e-x. He introduced the theory that little girls or women may suffer from penis envy, and that there is much sexual undercurrent in every aspect of a person's life.

The Ego! The Id, Americans were not as often looking to some 'heavenly home', but inside to what makes people tick. Society began to understand that children were affected by more than their environment. Ground was being broken to link heredity with criminal behavior. Dr. Freud's theories intrigued author William March, who wrote the original novel, 'The Bad Seed."

The psychopath was not fully understood, but there was finally recognition they existed, and the ideas of criminals coming from 'low bred' families was more palatable when citing the blessed American Dream offered for a simple combination of behaviors.

This was a time where a standard was held; that If you are a good wife, make your husband happy, keep the home decent, keep yourself "dressed" at all times, willing to entertain any jerk or a-hole with grace, keep the kids clean, and pressed, your life should be "A-Okay", every step you take should keep you on that golden path with a white picket fence, and 0 divorce rate. Everyone was operating under the mistaken belief that people and life can be "perfect".

"The Bad Seed" shows odd familial relationships throughout the entire story. The 10,000 line poem William March completed when he was 12, wasn't gone, just transformed, The Bad Seed has many good "one liners" that to me are volumes crying out for notice. There are some lines posted, others have been left in the movie.

From The Bad Seed, played by Patty McCormack - "Rhoda Penmark..."

"I have the prettiest Mother" , "I want to play the way we used to, will you play with me...?"

"...I hit him with the shoes, I hit him with the shoes, what else could I do?...he wouldn't give me the medal like I told him to, that's all...he kept on crying, and I was afraid someone would hear him, so I Hit him again! I hit him harder, and he fell in the water..."

"Why would I tell and get killed?"

"...I slipped and fell against her...I slipped on purpose..."

"You bring them back!", "You bring them back!"

"LeRoy, you Give me back my shoes!..."

...At the ripe age of 8, she has at least 3 bodies to her credit, and shows no sign of stopping...

The Original Trailer Owned by Warner Brothers Renewed Lic.

Rhoda's Mom, Christine, is Kenneth's wife, and Richard Bravo's adopted father, and the daughter of B Dunker, mass murderer

facts about Rhoda's activities and personality are becoming too drastic to ignore, or press away. Christine Penmark is holding her family together, taking care of everyone. She is getting a lot of assistance with Rhoda, from their landlord and frequent neighbor, Mrs. Breedlove. Christine's husband is in Washington, D.C., while they are I think in Florida.

Christine's Father has come by for a visit, he travels, and is a reporter, that used to do crime reporting, until he absconded Christine (Engle Danker), and he and his wife "adopted her." She is trying to keep it all together, but she is coming close to the breaking point.

Instead of her Dad, Mr. Bravo, just telling her the truth, he plays this quiz game to get her to come to the truth about her origin, then acts as if all of these lies he told her all of her life, are something she should be able to absorb, and go on with her duties. Mr. Bravo has outdated ideas about Criminal Psychology, or maybe he doesn't he is just lying to himself.

This is Mrs. Penmark's liners of her conversation with her "Daddy", asking him if she is adopted, and where did she really originate?

Her "Daddy", Mr. Bravo says, what is bothering you?

"...I was afraid my mommy wasn't really my mother, and the daddy that I love isn't really mine"

" little girl Rhoda...I am afraid for her...I'm afraid what she may have inherited from me...please don't lie to me...the time is past when that will help...are you really my father?"

"I'm sorry, I won't ask any more questions..."

" found me somewhere...I know the place...I must've dreamed it...I dream of a bedroom in a mother's voice calling me in the distance...Ingle...Ingle Danker. Oh, Daddy, you've kept this from me all these years..."

"...whose child am I?"

"...are you my Father?"

"...for Rhoda's sake and my sake, I must know..."

"...besides, I know the answer now...yes..."

" found me somewhere..."

"...I know the place...I am alone in the room, I get out the window...I begin to eat the yellow pippens that fall from the trees...I hear my Mother calling my name...'Engle, Engle DANKER!"

Leroy, Give Me Those Shoes!

sneaky, creepy Le Roy!
sneaky, creepy Le Roy! | Source


If there are any killers or perverts in the Bad Seed, LeRoy would have been voted #1, in the 1930s. He probably fiddles with kids and ladies underwear, but realizes he is walking on a thin line with the likes of Widow Breedlove as his benevolent parole officer or sponsor.

He is mean, and to coin a southern colloquialism; he acts like a short dog in tall grass - shady. He is from the low side of the tracks socially, but identifies with Rhoda.

He crosses as many boundaries as he can. His society, or the women he 'takes care of', because he is a predominate character, the only "Male" figure always around. He is a Family Man, with an invisible family.

He is that sinister Sam, whispering asides of evil rumblings and proposed actions to female members within his reach. He should not have had access to an 8 year old little girl, in a very short dress. This eight year old, can take care of herself.

"I ain't supposed to talk to Little Ms Perfect"

"...there may not be a 'stick bloodhound', but they will find a stick'

"...have you ever heard the sound an 'lectric chair makes?...oh, yea. they got a little blue chair for boys, and they got a Pink chair for little gals..."

" didn't hit that little boy with no stick, I think you used them shoes..."

" first I was kiddin' around, but I think you did it!, I think you killed that little boy with them shoes..."

" come I got them shoes then?"

"...spose I heard them shoes coming down the incinerator...they're scorched, but plenty left to show you used them shoes..."

Kenneth - Rhoda's Absentee Father - Mrs. Penmark's Absentee Husband

Mrs. Penmark, Rhoda's mother, has learned in a very short time that her "loving Father" is not really her Father. He removed her from a Crime Scene, and claimed Christine, for his own gold.

She is trying to get to the Truth of her own origin, and some explanation as to why her beautiful daughter is a psychopath.

Her adoptive Father, Mr. Bravo, tells her, she has made Kenneth very happy, her house is clean, she is able to hold down the fort while her husband is off making big money, and only home to endow his 'good girls' with gifts.

Kenneth is transferred to Washington D.C. finally shows up at the end of the movie, but he seems mostly useless.

"Just a Little Girl"- Patty McCormack - The Bad Seed - Owned by Warner Brothers

Richard Bravo - Christine's Adoptive Father

When I first saw this movie in the 1960s, it left an impression on me for life. It scared the dickens out of me. Not monsters climbing from the swamp, or swallowing a diner, but people who present one thing and are another. You never know...

This time around, I am analyzing the 'liners' of Richard Bravo, and I see this in a new way. Words mean what they mean. Perhaps in the 30s, 40's and 50's the language used was so much more different, but to me these conversations, these 'lines' are loaded!

" I looking too close, or is there something weighing heavy on your mind?"

" writing? she doesn't even know how to spell..."

"...well, its nice to be alone again with my girl..."

"...what could she possibly have inherited..."

"...what has Rhoda done?"

"...all this inheritance stuff is pure rubbish..."

"...right darling, lets just close the book."

"...hadn't been for you becoming part of my life..."

" were magic for me"

"...yes, in a very strange place..." "I don't think you could have, you were under 2 years old"

"...what name did she call you?" "you remember that name?"

"...the neighbors found you before your mother disappeared"

"...we couldn't resist" "it was the neighbors who found you and saved you, would you rather have stayed with them?"

" did a magic for me, I'd always wanted a little girl, and you were everything lovely a little girl could be for her dad."

Monica Breedlove - Psychoanalyst Neighbor

Monica - a property owner, well educated, a "large woman". She is an amateur psychologist, if she had been male instead, she would perhaps been an actual psychologist. She has met Sigmund Freud, and been analyzed by another famous shrink of the time. The mentions Freud a lot, so she is interested in others, and she is drawn to Rhoda ~ The Bad Seed...Is this because she suspects Rhoda may be a psychopath? She seems to have a girl-crush on her, but Whenever she gives her lines, there are always sexual overtones.

"He told me I was drawn to marriage by the images of the name Breedlove. Of course love is romance and ..., and I don't have to tell you about the other...(Breed).

"...please tell me what it'll feel better now..."

"...what has she done?"

"...come Rhoda, come up with me for ..."

"...I have a locket I am going to give you"

© 2010 Lori J Latimer


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    • LillyGrillzit profile image

      Lori J Latimer 5 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

      mega1, Thank you for the read, and reminiscence! I have not read the book, but am curious about the author, and where this creature Rhoda sprung from. I too catch glimpses of her personality traits from time to time. I like your idea for Sadistic American Lit...sounds like an Awesome Hub (your idea - write with it, I am looking forward to more monster literature unveiled!)

    • mega1 profile image

      mega1 5 years ago

      This is one of those book/movies one would love to forget. It was actually required reading in my eighth grade English class! We had a couple really sadistic teachers back then and they loved to creep us out. I believe it was an example of "shock prose". But I've entirely forgotten what the lesson was supposed to be about. So, yeah. And then I've actually met several people I obsess on who remind me of Rhoda so very much! It is difficult to be in the same room with them! ;D. And, here you are, continuing the tradition of sadistic American Lit! Wish I'd thought of it. Maybe a class for would be, easily discouraged writers, called Sadistic American Lit. A class full of eager little boys! Muwahhhahahahah!

    • LillyGrillzit profile image

      Lori J Latimer 7 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

      Thank you chan0512, it is pretty creepy. Thanks for the visit and votes

    • chan0512 profile image

      chan0512 7 years ago from Camarillo, CA

      Love the review. It is definitely classic. I'll put it on my must watch list. Thanks for sharing. Voted and shared.

    • LillyGrillzit profile image

      Lori J Latimer 7 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

      Thank you Denise. This drama/horror has stuck with me for life. It is cool this "sparked"(pink electric chair...LOL) your future career. Thank you for sharing and leaving this comment. :0) Happy Halloween.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Boy do I remember the Bad Seed. I was fairly young when I saw it and it left a lasting impression. Not only was I fascinated with the very idea that this girl could kill, but, I think it sparked my future career, haha.

      Thanks for bringing this back to life. :)

    • LillyGrillzit profile image

      Lori J Latimer 7 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

      Ah Ms. Katiem2, Thank you for your Review! and Coming back to comment! :0) Glad you know now.

    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 7 years ago from I'm outta here

      What I thought was thrilling, mind tingling as it made you think, wonder and explore... Thanks so much for the heads up with your How Bad Little Pink Electric Chair Bad... Creepy and Chilling a great Halloween time of year viewing... EWWWWWwwwwww BOO!

    • LillyGrillzit profile image

      Lori J Latimer 7 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

      Dear Ms Katiem2, Thanks for stopping by! Please let me know what you think of this please. Peace :0)

      BobbiR Thanks for coming by and giving this a read and Comment! I sort of recall The Bad Son, I will have to revisit! :0)

      Tankadin, Thank you for giving this a read! Thanks for leaving a comment, let me know what you think this time if find time. Thank you! :0)

    • Tankadin profile image

      Tankadin 7 years ago

      I did see the movie, think I need to watch it again.

    • BobbiRant profile image

      BobbiRant 7 years ago from New York

      Truly a creepy film and The Bad Son, kind of a remake with a boy instead of a girl, another truly creepy film. Rotten kids.

    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 7 years ago from I'm outta here

      Great review now I must see this film. thanks for the heads up!

    • LillyGrillzit profile image

      Lori J Latimer 7 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

      Run Abstract, I do hope you find it. There was a remake in the 80's that hasn't shown as interesting. Let me know what you think.

      Dallas93444! Thank you for the read and comment! :0)

      Sweetsusie I have been able to get it via interlibrary loan. It takes awhile. Please let me know what you think!

      Tracykarl, Thank you for your nice comment. I am searching for the book to read it. I would like to hear what your thoughts are if you do get a chance to see it.

      Prasetio! Thank you very much for your kind comments and reading this. I hope you can find a copy to view and give me your thoughts on this story!:0)

      Bayoulady, thank you for coming by for a read, and bringing the rememberance of scary movies at the Drive In! We saw the most ghastly scenes out there.

    • bayoulady profile image

      bayoulady 7 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA

      I didn't see this movie, but at a drive-in movie laying up on the back dashboard of my Daddy's car I think I saw the trailer for this. Scarey.I recognize that creepy little girl.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I love vintage movie and I found again through this hub. Actually I never know about this before, but your describe this very well. I love your review and the detail of the Bad Seed. This is another great hub from you. Vote up.

      Blessing and hugs,


    • tracykarl99 profile image

      Tracy 7 years ago from San Francisco

      Lilly, Your hub is so well written! The book sounds like a good read - if a little creepy-scary. The title sounds somewhat familiar, but have not seen the movie. Something new to add to the list! Thanks:)

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 7 years ago from Michigan

      Ok, so I have never seen this, but now I feel as though I must. Psychology fascinates me, it always has. Freud had some good ideas, they just aren't concrete but are a good starting point!

      Good Job!!

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 7 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      .. a real "thinker..."

    • RunAbstract profile image

      RunAbstract 7 years ago from USA

      Fantastic review! Hope it's on Netflix!!!

    • LillyGrillzit profile image

      Lori J Latimer 7 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

      Thank you! The whole thing is available in pieces on YouTube, I have gotten it from the Library...please let me know what you think after re-watching. :0) Thanks for coming by for a read.

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      I vaguely remember the film -- guess I need to watch it again. Who knew there was so much to say? Thanks. Lynda