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
Warner Brothers initially took a huge gamble with this 1956 release. Some elements of its storyline were considered way too suggestive for films at the time (there was still no rating system yet) but the studio went ahead and released it anyway. What resulted was a huge box office hit and a star maker for Carroll Baker who has the title role of the child bride of a sometimes dense cotton gin operator (Karl Malden). Malden is a rival to another cotton gin operator (Eli Wallach) and his torching of Wallach's cotton gin inspires Wallach to get back at Malden by having a steamy love affair with Baker. Rip Torn made his film debut here with a small part. Film reunites director Elia Kazan and screenwriter/playwright Tennessee Williams who had previously collaborated on the box office smash "A Streetcar Named Desire." This film is also an interesting early example of what may have eventually inspired Hollywood's film rating system.
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