New York singer and nightclub owner Lady Lou has more men friends than you can imagine, unfortunately one of them is a vicious criminal who's escaped and is on the way to see "his" girl, ... See full summary »
Mae Doyle comes back to her hometown a cynical woman. Her brother Joe fears that his love, fish cannery worker Peggy, may wind up like Mae. Mae marries Jerry and has a baby; she is happy but restless, drawn to Jerry's friend Earl.
Brick, an alcoholic ex-football player, drinks his days away and resists the affections of his wife, Maggie. His reunion with his father, Big Daddy, who is dying of cancer, jogs a host of memories and revelations for both father and son.
American chemist Ned Faraday marries a German entertainer and starts a family. However, he becomes poisoned with Radium and needs an expensive treatment in Germany to have any chance at ... See full summary »
Josef von Sternberg
After Florence Fallon's father dies unappreciated in the church where he preached for many years, she becomes embittered and loses faith. She teams up with Horsby, a con man, and performs ... See full summary »
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Originally banned in some US cities due to its sexual innuendo. See more »
After Lily mentions to Courtland she would like to be a Mrs., there are two shots of newspapers announcing the wedding. The second shot is a close up of two paragraphs. The first paragraph misspells Courtland's name as "Courtney" and the word company as "comany." See more »
Finally, the uncut version of "Baby Face" surfaces and from what source? The Library of Congress. The restored four minutes, snippets here and there, make for a much better film. We now know that Baby Face was pimped by her old man from the time she was at least fourteen years of age. Another reason d'tat for her behavior and cold, calculating exterior.
Barbara Stanwyck is indeed amazing in the role of Lily Powers (notice the moniker), a part that called for just the right amount of sexuality coated with power, cunning, and revenge, yet tinged with virginal pretense when called for, a very difficult portrayal to make convincing. Barbara Stanwyck conveys the necessary nuances to show that though she sleeps her way to the top (literally), she still has good in her heart--note the way she treats those few who have been kind to her such as Chico (the marvelous actress Theresa Harris) and the old philosopher. And though she exploits her sexuality to make mush of men who are rich and powerful, those same men are attempting to exploit her for their carnal desires with no intention of permanent ties until they fall in love with her.
Lily Powers fails to understand, at first, that emotions are difficult to ride, that it's easy to lose control. One possible result is death. Hitching a wagon to a star of course materialism can take one to a destination where nothing else exists but the ephemeral, and it's a cold lonely location.
A word should be said about the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche whose will to power is stressed in "Baby Face" by the elderly philosopher who befriends Lilly when she is still turning tricks for her old man. "Baby Face" was released the same year Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany. Though it's highly unlikely that the semi-literate Hitler understood much about Nietzsche, he considered himself a Nietzschean to the nth degree and touted it along side his other rantings. "Baby Face" serves as an indictment of the popular interpretation of Nietzsche's will to power concept, especially in the final scenes.
Although "You've got the cutest little baby face." is apropos as a theme for "Baby Face," an even more telling and applicable melody is W. C. Handy's "St. Louis Blues" played throughout the film, especially at times when the camera has to drift away from what would otherwise be sexually explicit scenes. "St. Louis Blues" is also used wisely toward the end as Lily begins to see beyond materialism to eternal values. Chico is singing a raw, salacious version of "St. Louis Blues" when Lily, now disagreeing with the lyrics, orders her to stop.
The restored version of "Baby Face" makes the film more modern in its approach and attitude toward sex as power than many a new Hollywood release. By all means watch this gem from the distant past and enjoy.
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