Cinematographer Michael D. Margulies was known for shooting TV shows, everything from George Plimpton documentaries to The Waltons ( he also shot John Cassevetes’ Minnie and Moskowitz a year before The Baby). He gives The Baby a beautiful 1970s sheen; at times it looks like an explosion in an old Sears catalog. The house where Baby lives looks lifeless and unkempt from the outside, but the interiors have a lurid, lava lamp glow, especially during a birthday party scene for Baby. The music, which veers from wistful to weird, was by Gerald Fried, a television veteran who began his career scoring films for Stanley Kubrick (The Killing; Killers Kiss; Paths of Glory).
Can The Baby, which turned 40 this year, ever develop into a full blown cult object? Probably not. A true cult film has to stand up over repeated viewings. This film seems to exist solely for Polsky's twist ending, which is amusing, something out of Tales from the Crypt, or The Twilight Zone. The first time I saw it, I thought, ah, ya got me. It left me with a good feeling in my gut, the sort I get when I've seen an offbeat gem, and am better for having seen it. But films with trick endings tend to be viewable only once. Does The Baby hold up once you know the ending? That will depend on how you feel about watching a grown man in a crib. And if you haven't seen it at all? You're in for a treat.