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 <email@example.com>
The original release had to be cut by four minutes to pass inspection by the New York Board of Censors. The cuts were mostly very minor but the most notable were the scene where Lily admits that she began working as a prostitute when she was fourteen and the scene the boxcar with the yardman, the close-up of the hand turning out the light. These scenes were cut before the film's release in 1933 and were not seen publicly until 2004. See more »
Arriving by boxcar in New York City, the shrewd young woman with the BABY FACE begins to methodically canoodle her way to the top floors of power in a great bank.
Barbara Stanwyck is fascinating as the amoral heroine of this influential pre-Code drama. Without a shred of decency or regret, she coolly manipulates the removal or destruction of the men unlucky enough to find themselves in her way. A wonderful actress, Stanwyck has full opportunity here to display her ample talents.
Appearing quite late in the story, George Brent is a welcome addition as the one fellow possibly able to handle Stanwyck; his sophisticated style of acting makes a nice counterpoint to her icy demeanor. Douglas Dumbrille, Donald Cook & Henry Kolker portray a succession of her unfortunate victims.
John Wayne appears for just a few scant seconds as an unsuccessful suitor for Stanwyck's affections. This would be the only time these two performers appeared together on screen.
Movie mavens should recognize Nat Pendleton as a speakeasy customer, and Charles Sellon & Edward Van Sloan as bank executives - all unbilled.
The music heard on the soundtrack throughout the film, perfectly punctuating the plot, is Baby Face' (1926) by Benny Davis & Harry Akst and St. Louis Blues' (1914) by W.C. Handy.
BABY FACE is a prime example of pre-Code naughtiness. In its frank & unapologetic dealing with sex, it is precisely the kind of film which the implementation of the Production Code in 1934 was meant to eliminate.
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