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Baby Doll (1956)

Approved | | Drama | 29 December 1956 (USA)
A steamy tale of two Southern rivals and a sensuous nineteen-year-old virgin.

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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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...
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Eades Hogue ...
Town Marshal
Noah Williamson ...
Deputy
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Storyline

Living in Tiger Tail County, Mississippi, middle aged Archie Lee Meighan and nineteen year old "Baby Doll" Meighan née McCargo have been married for close to two years. Their marriage is not based on love, but each getting what they want from the other. Their marriage agreement has them consummating their marriage on her twentieth birthday, which is in three days, the act to which Baby Doll is not really looking forward. But she does taunt him and other men with her overt "baby doll" sexuality, the baby doll aspect which she fosters by sleeping in their house's nursery in a crib. Baby Doll's now deceased father allowed the marriage on the stipulation that Archie Lee provide Baby Doll financial security as displayed by the most resplendent house in the south. They currently live in a dilapidated mansion with her Aunt Rose Comfort, and although Archie Lee is making some renovations on it, he no longer has the financial means to make it what Baby Doll wants as his cotton ginning ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

She's nineteen. She makes her husband keep away -- she won't let the stranger go. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

29 December 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Baby Doll - Begehre nicht des anderen Weib  »

Filming Locations:

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Elia Kazan hired identical twin brothers, born April 16, 1928, Richard ("Dick") and Paul Sylbert, as his scenic designers and art directors. They shared the film's art director credit. The Sylbert twins had primarily been working in NYC live television as IATSE #829 scenic designers and set decorators. The Sylbert twins had Kazan hire their fellow New York City CBS television studio set decorator Gene Callahan, who joined Kazan and the Sylbert twins in Benoit, Mississippi to scout local locations and prep the film's primary plantation house location. Consulting and working with Kazan, Gene and the Sylbert twins shared their film designing duties. Knowing of Callahan's Louisiana heritage, Gene was the perfect choice to decorate the squalid run down plantation house interiors and plantation site exteriors. Gene found the "baby doll" iron bed in a local antique shop, which became a featured prop in the film's set and playbill advertisements. The Sylbert twins and Gene were always on the film set with Kazan and his cinematographer, during cast/camera rehearsal blocking shot, subsequent filming, on every set up. This was a natural condition to a television art department team, being a part of the cast and crew rehearsal and filming schedule, day and night. When not with the film crew, they would be preparing the next scene/film shot for the company move. Upon completion of the Mississippi filming, Gene took the "iron baby doll bed" back with him to New York City, placing the bed in his spacious and large West Side apartment's living room, a conversation piece! Kazan relied on Gene's Southern upbringing and scene interpretation in his rehearsals and scene motivation. This professional film relationship and experience secured the Sylberts' and Callahan's future alliance with Elia Kazan's creative film assignments. Kazan took Gene to Istanbul, Turkey and Athens, Greece, as his production designer for the location film America America (1963). Callahan won the 1963 Academy Award for Best Art Direction Black-and-White for his painstakingly accurate scenic set designs. See more »

Goofs

When Silva names evil spirits, the way he holds the stick changes. See more »

Quotes

Silva Vacarro: I find you different this evening in some way.
Baby Doll: Never mind that.
Silva Vacarro: Grown up suddenly.
Baby Doll: I feel cool and rested for the first time in my life.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959) See more »

Soundtracks

Shame, Shame, Shame
Written by Ken Hopkins and Ruby Fisher
Sung by Smiley Lewis
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Uproariously funny black comedy about sexual frustration.
29 September 2003 | by (bahamas) – See all my reviews

Wonderfully original, even after all this time, due to the matchless dialog of Tennessee Williams and the superb performances of the three principals, Karl Malden, Carroll Baker and Eli Wallach. Wickedly funny, sly and loopy all at the same time. A view of Southern white trash which only Tennessee Williams could have penned. Carroll Baker in a first class performance as the still-virginal but sexually precocious Baby Doll, married for two years but refusing to consummate her marriage until her twentieth birthday, looming large. Karl Malden as the frustrated husband, panting to get his hands on her, and Eli Wallach as the neighbor, determined to seduce Baby Doll before Malden, in revenge for Malden's burning down his cotton gin. Totally off the wall characterization with rich, witty dialog that constantly takes one by surprise. Watching Malden and Baker's characters with their dumber than dumber take on things (that totally cracks one up at their sheer stupidity!) one wonders just how much in-breeding Williams had in mind when he invented these people. Even Mildred Dunnock, as the minor fourth character of the ensemble, a batty aunt, has a full share of crazy antics that almost has one falling on the floor. Eli Wallach turns in a sly, smoother than smooth performance as the potential seducer that is wonderfully nuanced. When the movie first appeared is was condemned by the Catholic Church. Apparently there are critics who still uphold those initial views and would prefer to return to the time of total censorship than adopt a more realistic view of life. Baby Doll is not an indecent movie and never was. What it is is a glorious black comedy that has a place amongst the best works that Williams ever produced. Last, but not least, kudos to director Elia Kazan, who passed away on the very evening that this viewer was privileged to finally get to see this movie. This is definitely one for the collection!


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