7.6/10
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152 user 46 critic

Baby Face (1933)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 17 November 1933 (France)
Trailer
1:57 | Trailer
A young woman, sexually exploited all her life, decides to turn the tables and exploit the hapless men at a big city bank - by gleefully sleeping her way to the top.

Director:

Alfred E. Green

Writers:

Gene Markey (screen play), Kathryn Scola (screen play) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Barbara Stanwyck ... Lily
George Brent ... Trenholm
Donald Cook ... Stevens
Alphonse Ethier ... Cragg
Henry Kolker ... Carter
Margaret Lindsay ... Ann Carter
Arthur Hohl ... Ed Sipple
John Wayne ... Jimmy McCoy Jr.
Robert Barrat ... Nick Powers
Douglass Dumbrille ... Brody (as Douglas Dumbrille)
Theresa Harris ... Chico
Learn more

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Director: Frank Borzage
Stars: Robert Taylor, Ruth Hussey, Walter Pidgeon
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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:

No matter how many motion pictures you've seen in your life, you've NEVER seen anything like this frank, man-to-man story of a man-to-man girl. (Print Ad- Woodville Republican, ((Woodville, Miss.)) 9 September 1933) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the prerelease version a scene was included in which Lily seduces the brakeman on a freight train to secure passage on the train. The scene is very racy and was cut from the released version. The brakeman is played by James Murray, who had become a silent film star after playing the lead in King Vidor's The Crowd (1928). By 1933 he had fallen on hard times - he would commit suicide in 1936 by throwing himself in the Hudson River. It adds to the sadness of his decline that his one scene in Baby Face was cut from the released version. He is very effective, charismatic and handsome in his brief appearance, now happily restored to the film. See more »

Goofs

After Mr. Carter stays the night, Lily gets out of a car. There is a reflection of faces on the window of the car as it pulls away. See more »

Quotes

Nick Powers: [Chico accidently drops some glasses on the floor] Now, look what you went and done. You're fired! You lazy, thievin', little son-of-a...
Lily Powers: Hey! Easy with the whip.
Nick Powers: You keep outta this!
[to Chico]
Nick Powers: Go on, get outta my house!
Lily Powers: If Chico goes, I go.
Nick Powers: What?
Lily Powers: You heard me.
Nick Powers: Don't you talk to me that way. I'm your father!
Lily Powers: That's my tough luck.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The Bowdlerized release version also has a final scene tacked on, which tells how the heroine learned to be content with a more modest lifestyle. This scene is happily removed from the restored version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Simpsons: Homer vs. the 18th Amendment (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Baby Face
(1926) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Akst
Played during the opening credits
Played as background music often
Reprised on a phonograph record
See more »

User Reviews

 
Pre-code Stanwyck ROCKS
7 May 2006 | by blanche-2See 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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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

17 November 1933 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Baby Face See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$187,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (restored) | (uncut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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