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Baby Face (1933)

 -  Drama | Romance  -  December 1933 (UK)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 3,174 users  
Reviews: 91 user | 26 critic

A young woman uses her body and her sexuality to help her climb the social ladder, but soon begins to wonder if her new status will ever bring her happiness.

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(screen play), (screen play), 1 more credit »
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Title: Baby Face (1933)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Lily
George Brent ...
Trenholm
Donald Cook ...
Stevens
Alphonse Ethier ...
Cragg
Henry Kolker ...
Carter
...
Ann Carter
Arthur Hohl ...
Ed Sipple
...
Robert Barrat ...
Nick Powers
...
Brody (as Douglas Dumbrille)
Theresa Harris ...
Chico
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Storyline

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 <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

She climbed the ladder of success - wrong by wrong!

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

December 1933 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Baby Face  »

Box Office

Budget:

$187,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (restored)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In spring of 1933 this film was submitted to the New York State Board of Censors, who rejected it, demanding a number of cuts and changes. Warner Brothers made these changes prior to the film's release in July 1933. In 2004, a "dupe negative" copy of the film as it existed prior to being censored was located at the Library of Congress. This uncensored version received its public premiere at the London Film Festival in November 2004, more than 70 years after it was made. See more »

Goofs

Courtland's hands change position as he sits down in the boardroom. See more »

Quotes

Lily Powers: Yeah, I'm a tramp, and who's to blame? My Father. A swell start you gave me. Ever since I was fourteen, what's it been? Nothing but men! Dirty rotten men! And you're lower than any of them. I'll hate you as long as I live!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Hollywood Uncensored (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

Let Me Call You Sweetheart
(1910) (uncredited)
Music by Leo Friedman
Played on a player piano in Powers' speakeasy
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Pre-code Stanwyck ROCKS
7 May 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Baby Face" is a precode melodrama starring a very young Barbara Stanwyck, an almost unrecognizable George Brent, and Theresa Harris. It's about a girl who goes to the city to make good...or should I say make time. Stanwyck's father has been pimping her for one reason or another her whole life in dingy, depressed, filthy Erie, Pennsylvania. After her father dies, one older father type who knows what she's been through and truly cares about her future advises her to go to the big city and take advantage of opportunities there - and not the easy ones

  • and to take the high road in life. (Note that I saw the censored
version and not the uncut - this part of the film was redone for the censors.) She and Chico (Harris) go to New York where Lily (nickname: Baby Face) decides the low road's a lot smoother and will get her where she wants to go a lot faster. In the movie's most famous scene, the camera moves us up the corporate ladder by taking us from floor to floor as Lily sleeps her way to the top. She finally corrals the big man himself and is able to quit her day job. Trouble follows, and she's soon involved in a huge scandal.

Stanwyck wears lots of makeup and for most of the film is cool as a cucumber as she seduces one man after another with no regrets, and she's great at playing the innocent victim. In one scene, she sits staring at a king's ransom in jewels while wearing a black dress that looks like it's decorated with diamonds at the top. Then she asks Chico for another case, and that's filled with more jewelry, plus securities. All in a day's work.

Theresa Harris was an interesting talent - she could be played down or glamorous, and was a talented singer and dancer as well. Here, she sings or hums the movie's theme, "St. Louis Woman" throughout. She worked in literally dozens of movies and is very good here as a friend of Stanwyck's, her best work being in the precode era. As a bizarre byproduct of the code, blacks were often given less to do in films after it was put in place.

Precode films could be more sexually blatant and therefore, though they're 70+ years old, seem more modern. Even though these films didn't have to have moral endings, Baby Face learns her lessons - how like life it is after all. There were several endings of this film, all with the same message. The one I saw had an added scene, but apparently, there were two other endings that didn't pass the censors. (There wasn't a code but there were always censors.) At any rate, it's a neat surprise. "Baby Face" is an important film in movie history - a must see.


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