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Lilly (Baby Face) sleeps her way from basement speakeasy bartender, literally floor by floor, to the top floor of a New York office building. Bank sub-manager Jimmy McCoy finds her a job in the bank only to be cast aside as she hooks up with the bank's president. When he complains of not seeing her she says: "I'm working so hard I have to go to bed early every night." Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
Arriving by boxcar in New York City, the shrewd young woman with the BABY FACE begins to methodically canoodle her way to the top floors of power in a great bank.
Barbara Stanwyck is fascinating as the amoral heroine of this influential pre-Code drama. Without a shred of decency or regret, she coolly manipulates the removal or destruction of the men unlucky enough to find themselves in her way. A wonderful actress, Stanwyck has full opportunity here to display her ample talents.
Appearing quite late in the story, George Brent is a welcome addition as the one fellow possibly able to handle Stanwyck; his sophisticated style of acting makes a nice counterpoint to her icy demeanor. Douglas Dumbrille, Donald Cook & Henry Kolker portray a succession of her unfortunate victims.
John Wayne appears for just a few scant seconds as an unsuccessful suitor for Stanwyck's affections. This would be the only time these two performers appeared together on screen.
Movie mavens should recognize Nat Pendleton as a speakeasy customer, and Charles Sellon & Edward Van Sloan as bank executives - all unbilled.
The music heard on the soundtrack throughout the film, perfectly punctuating the plot, is Baby Face' (1926) by Benny Davis & Harry Akst and St. Louis Blues' (1914) by W.C. Handy.
BABY FACE is a prime example of pre-Code naughtiness. In its frank & unapologetic dealing with sex, it is precisely the kind of film which the implementation of the Production Code in 1934 was meant to eliminate.
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