Baby Face (1933) - News Poster



Big Business Girl

What does a working girl have to do to get ahead, when all she has in her favor is an incredible face, a lavish wardrobe, and a pair of legs to make any executive wolf howl? Loretta Young juggles two egotistical swains, while Joan Blondell shines as an enticing all-pro homewrecker.

Big Business Girl


The Warner Archive Collection

1931 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 74 min. / Street Date September 14, 2017 / available through the WBshop / 21.99

Starring: Loretta Young, Frank Albertson, Ricardo Cortez, Joan Blondell, Frank Darien, Dorothy Christy, Oscar Apfel, Judith Barrett, Mickey Bennett, George ‘Gabby’ Hayes, Virginia Sale.

Cinematography: Sol Polito

Film Editor: Pete Fritch

Written by Robert Lord, story by Patricia Reilly & H.N. Swanson

Produced and Directed by William A. Seiter

Let’s hear it for the Warner Archive Collection’s voluminous vault of early ’30s Warners, MGM and Rko entertainments, which has given us a real education about this era of filmmaking.
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Baby Face

Barbara Stanwyck’s spiky strumpet literally sleeps her way to the top in Baby Face, the Sui Generis of gleefully prurient pre-code films that made Warner Bros. ground zero for gloriously salacious entertainment before Will Hays and his fun-killing code spoiled the party. Though Stanwyck’s character engages in some situations that would raise eyebrows even in 2016, she naturally has a heart of gold and and poker-faced George Brent is the lucky fella who benefits (for the time being, at least). Director Alfred Green (Invasion U.S.A.) specialized in fast-paced, low-budget exploitation fare but thanks to Stanwyck’s all-out performance, Baby Face remains his most memorable achievement.
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Scott Reviews Jack Hill’s The Swinging Cheerleaders [Arrow Video Blu-ray Review]

I’ve always been fascinated by the duality of Pre-Code cinema, which is talked up in classic film circles as a sin-fueled dungeon of excess, but in most cases simply uses outlandish scenarios to moralistic ends. Baby Face might be about a woman sleeping her way to the top of society, but Barbara Stanwyck still has to realize love is more important than all the riches she’s accrued. Scarface might glorify violence, but Paul Muni will still get his in the end. Indulgence and retreat; enjoy the highs, but shape up or be doomed. Similarly, in the 1970s, after the Motion Picture Production Code was shattered and a wave of sex-fueled odysseys came rushing to the screens, they tended to strike out familiar territory, using their exploitative qualities to reinforce the status quo. So it is with The Swinging Cheerleaders. Jack Hill’s 1974 cheapo gets high on its topless women and under-the-table groping,
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classic film through a feminist lens: Baby Face (1933)

It’s easy to see an anti-feminist “Just look what happens to women who break the rules” underneath what is most obviously simply straight-up salaciousness.

Baby Face is a 1933 Hollywood film from the moment just before the so-called Hays Code, which had been created in 1929 but hadn’t had much in the way of teeth, began to be seriously enforced… and it’s pretty clear that outrage over this movie helped contribute to the push for the Code to claim its power to censor. This movie may represent the pinnacle of cinematic “offenses” that pre-Code films committed that had conservatives and self-appointed morality police up in arms: Baby Face is blatantly, openly about sex in a way that few movies ever are, even today. Even “worse,” it’s about a woman using the power of sex to get ahead in the world.

Whether or not Baby Face was seen in
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Forbidden Hollywood Volume 10

Woo hoo! The pre-Code marvels return for one last go-round -- tales of sin and moral turpitude but also serious pictures about social issues that the Production Code effectively swept from Hollywood screens -- financial crimes and ethnic bigotry. Forbidden Hollywood Volume 10 Guilty Hands, The Mouthpiece, Secrets of the French Police, The Match King, Ever in My Heart DVD-r The Warner Archive Collection 1932-1934 / B&W / 1:37 flat Academy / 63, 62, 78, 85, 70 min. / Street Date October 27, 2015 / available through the WBshop / 40.99 Starring Lionel Barrymore, Kay Francis, Madge Evans; Warren William, Sidney Fox, Aline McMahon; Frank Morgan, Gwili Andre, Gregory Ratoff Rochelle Hudson; Warren William, Lili Damita, Glenda Farrell, Claire Dodd; Barbara Stanwyck, Otto Kruger, Ralph Bellamy, Ruth Donnelly. Cinematography Merritt B. Gerstad, Barney McGill; Alfred Gilks; Robert Kurrie; Written by Bayard Veiller; Joseph Jackson, Earl Baldwin, Frank J. Collins; Samuel Ornitz, Robert Tasker; Houston Branch, Sidney Sutherland, Einar Thorvaldson; Bertram Millhauser, Beulah Marie Dix.
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Forgotten Actress Bruce on TCM: Career Went from Dawn of Talkies to L.A.'s Punk Rock Scene

Virginia Bruce: MGM actress ca. 1935. Virginia Bruce movies on TCM: Actress was the cherry on 'The Great Ziegfeld' wedding cake Unfortunately, Turner Classic Movies has chosen not to feature any non-Hollywood stars – or any out-and-out silent film stars – in its 2015 “Summer Under the Stars” series.* On the other hand, TCM has come up with several unusual inclusions, e.g., Lee J. Cobb, Warren Oates, Mae Clarke, and today, Aug. 25, Virginia Bruce. A second-rank MGM leading lady in the 1930s, the Minneapolis-born Virginia Bruce is little remembered today despite her more than 70 feature films in a career that spanned two decades, from the dawn of the talkie era to the dawn of the TV era, in addition to a handful of comebacks going all the way to 1981 – the dawn of the personal computer era. Career highlights were few and not all that bright. Examples range from playing the
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Scott Reviews Samuel Fuller’s Forty Guns [Masters of Cinema Blu-ray Review]

Well, I’m glad I’m not the only one who didn’t quite follow this one. In his 1957 review of the film for Cahiers du cinema (reprinted in the booklet accompanying this release), Jean-Luc Godard wrote that Forty Guns “is so rich in invention – despite an incomprehensible plot – and so bursting with daring conceptions that it reminds one of the extravagances of Abel Gance and Stroheim, or purely and simply of Murnau.” For a movie featuring a half-dozen standoffs, at least as many deaths, two musical numbers, and an honest-to-God tornado, nothing much seems to happen in Forty Guns. The tone and tenor of the thing feels as relaxed as Rio Bravo. I’ve seen it twice now, and viewed a few scenes here and there beyond that, and I still can’t quite reconcile the whole. But Godard’s right – it’s a hell of a thing to see.
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Theresa Harris in 'Baby Face (1933) – The First "Best Black Friend" (Bbf)?

Flipping through cable TV channels this morning, and landed on a TCM broadcast of the 1933 drama "Baby Face" (it started about an hour before I started typing this) - a film that may have been the first to introduce the Bbf stock character (Bbf of course means Best Black Friend – a usually black actress cast as the leading white actress’ best friend; and even though they’re supposed to be “equals,” the Bbf is often 2 dimensional, there strictly to support her white friend, aiding her in eventually overcoming some personal obstacle). "Baby Face" starred Barbara Stanwyck (the leading white lady) and Theresa Harris (the...
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Two Movies Starring (Inventor) Lamarr Coming Up on TCM

Hedy Lamarr: 'Invention' and inventor on Turner Classic Movies (photo: Hedy Lamarr publicity shot ca. early '40s) Two Hedy Lamarr movies released during her heyday in the early '40s — Victor Fleming's Tortilla Flat (1942), co-starring Spencer Tracy and John Garfield, and King Vidor's H.M. Pulham, Esq. (1941), co-starring Robert Young and Ruth Hussey — will be broadcast on Turner Classic Movies on Wednesday, November 12, 2014, at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Pt, respectively. Best known as a glamorous Hollywood star (Ziegfeld Girl, White Cargo, Samson and Delilah), the Viennese-born Lamarr (née Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler), who would have turned 100 on November 9, was also an inventor: she co-developed and patented with composer George Antheil the concept of frequency hopping, currently known as spread-spectrum communications (or "spread-spectrum broadcasting"), which ultimately led to the evolution of wireless technology. (More on the George Antheil and Hedy Lamarr invention further below.) Somewhat ironically,
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Watch ‘Pre-Code’ Hollywood films on TCM all month

Tod Browning’s “Freaks

Before R-ratings, anti-heroes and gratuitous violence and nudity in mainstream Hollywood movies, there was the Hays Code. As a form of self-policing the industry, virtually every movie released up until 1968 needed that stamp of approval if it wanted distribution. And while it helped produce all of Old Hollywood’s true classics for several decades, it often included ridiculous rulings like not being able to show or flush a toilet on screen, not allowing married couples to be shown sleeping in the same bad or always making sure criminals, even protagonists of the movie, got punished in the end.

But before the Hays Code was nothing, and it was a gloriously weird, scandalous time for the movies. Certain Hollywood films in the early ’30s as “talkies” were rapidly taking hold have since been labeled “Pre-Code” films that never received Hollywood’s stamp of approval.

Every Friday in September,
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Pre-Code Classics Coming to TCM

Pre-Code Classics Coming to TCM
Hollywood got away with a hell of a lot before the Production Code, and Turner Classic Movies is offering a weekly taste of the bounty. Alec Baldwin and TCM's Robert Osborne will introduce 24 hours of pre-Code sex, drugs, profanity, nudity and bad behavior every Friday in September. TCM will highlight the freewheeling early careers of Barbara Stanwyck, Mae West, Jean Harlow, Warren William, James Cagney and more who starred in films where the bad guy sometimes won, and where the fallen heroine didn't need, or even want, to be saved. Classics on the docket include "Baby Face," "Footlight Parade," "Freaks," "Trouble in Paradise," "The Story of Temple Drake" and "Scarface" -- all wildly licentious for the time. Without censorship, during the 20s and early 30s sound boom, Hollywood did not sanitize sex, drug use, abortion, prostitution and extreme violence. Here's a look at the Code, which has some whacky do-nots.
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Under the Skin | Review

Female Perversion: Glazer’s Latest a Strange, Hypnotic Exploration of the Body Feminine

It’s been over a decade now since Jonathan Glazer’s exciting and strange sophomore film Birth (2004), an eerie and unsettling exploration of reincarnation tainted with the specter of pedophilia. While greeted with divisive reactions, his long awaited next feature, Under the Skin seems destined for an equally baffling reaction as he once again employs an A-list star in a nightmarish and disorienting universe of perplexing intention. Have no doubt, however, that Glazer has crafted a cinematic masterpiece that’s surreal, scintillating, and unforgettably strange. While reminiscent of several classic sci-fi titles in its obfuscated execution, it’s most notable ancestor would perhaps be Nicolas Roeg’s The Man Who Fell to Earth, but only in a rudimentary comparison of narrative. Glazer’s is a menacing look at the construction and consumption of female sexuality.

On the
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Pre-Code Hollywood: Gangsters, Monsters, and Dames

I must have been about 12 years old when I first saw Tarzan and His Mate. I loved the Tarzan movies. Tarzan was the undisputed King of the Jungle and was the greatest, Cheetah was man’s best friend, Boy was annoying, and Jane was the Queen of the Jungle and a young male’s introduction to the allure of the female. The uncensored version, with a naked Jane silhouetted while changing clothes in a backlit tent and the spectacular underwater ballet scene would have been a revelation to me; Tarzan and Jane are frolicking in their favorite swimming hole, Tarzan in his usual loincloth and Jane naked – not naked from the waste up, or presumed naked as they hid her behind some lake flora or rocks – Jane was naked.

Madam Satan

Most film fans knowledge of Pre-Code Hollywood movies doesn’t go much further than King Kong, Frankenstein, and a few other titles.
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The Lady Stanwyck: A Thrilling Look at the Star's Rise

When Peter Guralnick released Last Train to Memphis, the first half of his superb two-volume biography of Elvis Presley, some people must have wondered, "Who needs two books to tell the story of Elvis?" They may as well have grumbled, "Two whole books about America?" Some lives, some careers, push outward and up, expanding until they burst that flimsy constraint we call a frame of reference. In 1933, Barbara Stanwyck defied the Hays Office, that huffy watchdog of our moviegoing morals, with a performance that might have been shocking if it weren't so dazzling in its cold practicality. In Baby Face, Stanwyck's Lily Powers, an oppressed young woman decidedly from the other side of the tracks, watches her abusive father die in a fire -- and almost smiles. She h...
See full article at Village Voice »

Warner Bros.' 90th Anniversary: 25 Things You Didn't Know About the Fabled Hollywood Studio

Whether you think of Warner Bros. as the studio that gave you talking pictures, Bugs Bunny, Bogart, or Batman, you have to acknowledge the studio's place at the forefront of Hollywood history. Indeed, it'll be hard to avoid acknowledging it this year, as the studio will be spending 2013 celebrating its 90th birthday. The celebration kicks off with the release of two massive boxed sets of 50-plus discs each, both entitled the "Best of Warner Bros." -- a 100-film set of DVDs and a 50-film set of Blu-rays. Both sets encompass the studio's milestones of the entire sound film era, which Warners itself kicked off in 1927 with the release of "The Jazz Singer." (The sets go all the way up to the 2010 classic-to-be "Inception.") As familiar as these movies are, there's still plenty you may not know about the legendary movie studio, from who the actual Warner Brothers were, to the stars the studio minted,
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Mill Creek 50 Movie Packs Discount Code And Giveaway

If you’ve hunted around for movie bargains, you’ve probably seen some of Mill Creek Entertainment’s 50-Movie Packs on DVD. Apart from other great releases by Mill Creek, these packs are phenomenal boons to cinephiles looking to collect older titles.

There are three new packs available, and I want to not only let you in on a discount code, but I have one of the packs available for you to win.

I know a lot of people may be quick to overlook these packs, and not every movie included stands out as a major value, but there are some great titles in each of them, and fans of the genres will be pleasantly surprised by what they get out of the deal. I have to admit that there is something about seeing a 50-movie pack, especially when it doesn’t cost a couple of hundred dollars, or more,
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Best Actor: Clooney or Pitt?

No doubt: it's been a very good year for both these stars. And much as I admire Jean Dujardin's sublime performance in The Artist, my hunch is that the industry will favor one of its own on Oscar night. So who will it be -- George or Brad? I'm saving my prediction for a later Oscar piece, but for now simply want to consider these actors' respective contributions, leading up to and including 2011. And you'll note I say "actors," because one thing this past year confirmed was that both these handsome, movie-idol type personalities can, in fact, really act. Some will claim they've always known it, but for me this was a pretty striking discovery. Too often Pitt and Clooney have been constrained by their leading man status to playing cool, heroic protagonists who save the day and get the girl. And they appear to be playing themselves. (Sometimes even on the same screen,
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Robert Pattinson/Bel Ami Brazilian Trailer

Bel Ami movie: Robert Pattinson The Bel Ami movie trailer was released a week ago. Now comes the Brazilian Bel Ami trailer (scroll down), which happens to be the (classy) English-language trailer with Portuguese subtitles. The text below is an expanded version of the article posted at the time of the original trailer's release. In the trailer, we get to watch Robert Pattinson play a radically different character from his lovestruck vampire in the Twilight movies. Instead of having sex with Breaking Dawn's virginal Kristen Stewart, in Bel Ami Pattinson keeps himself busy with the more mature Kristin Scott Thomas and a whole array of other females of varying ages, shapes, and civil and social statuses. Two veterans of the British stage, Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod, directed this latest film adaptation of Guy de Maupassant's novel about Georges Duroy, an impoverished but ambitious ex-soldier who uses his drive,
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Forgotten Pre-Codes: Her Man (1930)

  • MUBI
Beginning a series looking at obscure pre-Code Hollywood films, made between the advent of sound and the strict enforcement of the Production Code. Some of these movies are rightly celebrated and frequently screened: Baby Face (1933), Red Headed Woman (1932), even to some extent Bed of Roses (1933). But others are trapped in copyright limbo or locked in vaults by studios too blind to exploit their holdings. That's the kind we're going to look at.

Tay Garnett was a typical tough-guy director, working in every genre but with a feeling for exotic climes (usually reproduced on the backlot). His reputation—that of a seventh-rate Howard Hawks, maybe—has never been hugely prestigious, and despite his frequently working on the screenplays of Hawks' films, and even making cameo appearances, the notion of Garnett as auteur never really took hold. Maybe, just maybe, this is partly due to the scarcity of some of his most interesting work.
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Amoral Barbara Stanwyck/Baby Face, Kay Francis, Frank Capra: TCM Library of Congress Tribute

Silent All Quiet On The Western Front: TCM's Library of Congress Tribute [Photo: Kay Francis, Leslie Howard in British Agent.] Schedule (Et) and synopses from the TCM website: 8:00 Pm The Constant Nymph (1943). A composer finds inspiration in his wife's romantic cousin. Dir: Edmund Goulding. Cast: Charles Boyer, Joan Fontaine, Alexis Smith. Bw-112 mins. 10:00 Pm Baby Face (1933). A beautiful schemer sleeps her way to the top of a banking empire. Dir: Alfred E. Green. Cast: Barbara Stanwyck, George Brent, Donald Cook. Bw-76 mins. 11:30 Pm Two Heads On A Pillow (1934). Once-married attorneys face off during a heated divorce case. Dir: William Nigh. Cast: Neil Hamilton, Miriam Jordan, Henry Armetta. Bw-68 mins. 12:45 Am All Quiet On The Western Front (1930). Young German soldiers try to adjust to the horrors of World War I. Dir: Lewis Milestone. Cast: Lew Ayres, Louis Wolheim, John Wray. Bw-134 mins. 3:15 Am : Will Rogers Winging Around Europe (1927). Bw-0 mins. 3:30 Am
See full article at Alt Film Guide »
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