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Baby Doll (1956)

Approved  |   |  Drama  |  18 December 1956 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 4,397 users  
Reviews: 63 user | 31 critic

A steamy tale of two Southern rivals and a sensuous nineteen-year-old virgin.

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Title: Baby Doll (1956)

Baby Doll (1956) on IMDb 7.5/10

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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Lonny Chapman ...
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:

19 years old and married...but not really! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

18 December 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Voz do Desejo  »

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(RCA Sound System)|
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When the film was released in 1956, it was enormously controversial for its extremely risqué subject matter. The Legion of Decency condemned the film for its "carnal suggestiveness". Francis Cardinal Spellman condemned the film in a stunning attack from the pulpit of St. Patrick's Cathedral two days before the film opened, saying that the film had been "responsibly judged to be evil in concept" and was certain that it would "exert an immoral and corrupting influence on those who see it", and exhorted all Catholics to refrain from patronizing the film "under pain of sin". Cardinal Spellman's condemnation of the film led to the Legion of Decency's first-ever nationwide boycott of an American-made film produced by a major studio. All over the country, almost 20 million Catholics protested the film and picketed theaters that showed it. The Catholic boycott nearly killed the film; it was cancelled by 77% of theaters scheduled to show it, and it only made a meager $600,000 at the box office. The film was also condemned by Time Magazine, which called it the dirtiest American-made motion picture that had ever been legally exhibited. Surprisingly, despite the film's sordid elements, the Production Code Administration gave it a seal of approval, but only after nearly a year of arguments. This was one of many examples of how the lax attitude of new Code official Geoffrey Shurlock, the successor at the PCA to the strict Catholic militant Joseph Breen, would lead to a schism with the Legon of Decency and the PCA's own downfall over the next few years. After this film, the PCA drifted farther and farther away from its traditional guidelines until it was replaced by the MPAA ratings system in 1968. See more »

Goofs

After Silva bursts through the door in the attic, Baby Doll is shown running from him with her blanket wrapped around her. The instant before she falls on to the attic beam, she removes the blanket, and holds it in her left hand. In the very next shot, after she has fallen, the blanket is wrapped around her body once again. See more »

Quotes

[repeated lines]
Baby Doll: [to Archie] Big shot!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Baby Doll: See No Evil (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Shame, Shame, Shame
Sung by Smiley Lewis
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User Reviews

 
A Must See For Tennessee Williams Fans
10 July 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is a wonderful film, and one of the more underrated, and unseen movies of Tennessee Williams works. The acting is topnotch. Karl Malden as Archie Lee, the sexually frustrated husband of Baby Doll, has never been better, and Carroll Baker is simply charming and luminous as the headstrong and chiding child bride, Baby Doll. Eli Wallach succeeds marvelously, (and surprisingly), in conveying to the hilt the sexual magnetism and intensity of Silva Vacarro, Archie Lee's "Italian Stallion" rival in business, and ultimately for Baby Doll herself. Mildred Dunnock's brilliant portrayal of Aunt Rose Comfort is also quite memorable.

The marriage of Baby Doll to the low-class and ineffectual Archie Lee was an obvious last resort plan made years ago by Baby Doll's dying father. Promises made by Archie Lee of restoring the estate to it's former glory and also that he would not attempt marital relations with Baby Doll until her twentieth birthday were apparently enough to cinch the deal in this dead end world. Baby Doll is clearly repulsed by her husband and has taken to sleeping in a baby's crib in "the nursery" to keep her distance from him. She treats him with annoyed disdain when she isn't making fun of him and embarrassing him in front of anyone who happens to be around. Her twentieth birthday is just days away and she is clearly feeling desperate about her situation.

This is the epitome of the Southern Gothic genre, although it is far from being dark or depressing. If anything, its a black comedy. The setting is the dilapidated Southern cotton plantation home, the remains of the once great estate of Baby Doll's deceased father and forefathers. The cinematography by Boris Kaufman, which was Oscar nominated, is executed in stark, bleached out black and white. Other Oscar nominations for the film included Carroll Baker, Tennessee Williams, and Mildred Dunnock. Eli Wallach and Karl Malden also certainly deserved an Oscar nod for their great performances. This film is a must see for Tennessee Williams fans!


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