A teenage girl lives as a prostitute in New Orleans in 1917.

Director:

Louis Malle

Writers:

Polly Platt (story), Polly Platt (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
749 ( 34)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Brooke Shields ... Violet
Keith Carradine ... Bellocq
Susan Sarandon ... Hattie
Frances Faye ... Nell
Antonio Fargas ... Professor
Matthew Anton Matthew Anton ... Red Top
Diana Scarwid ... Frieda
Barbara Steele ... Josephine
Seret Scott Seret Scott ... Flora
Cheryl Markowitz Cheryl Markowitz ... Gussie
Susan Manskey Susan Manskey ... Fanny
Laura Zimmerman Laura Zimmerman ... Agnes
Miz Mary Miz Mary ... Odette
Gerrit Graham ... Highpockets
Mae Mercer Mae Mercer ... Mama Mosebery
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Storyline

In 1917, in the red light district Storyville, New Orleans, the prostitute Hattie lives with her twelve year-old daughter Violet in the fancy brothel of Madame Nell, where she works. Photographer Ernest J. Bellocq has an attraction to Hallie and Violet and he is an habitué of the whorehouse. One day, Madame Nell auctions Violet's virginity and the winner pays the fortune of US$ 400 to spend the night with the girl. Then Hattie marries a wealthy client and moves to Saint Louis, leaving Violet in the brothel alone. Violet decides to marry Bellocq and she moves to his house. Until the day that Hattie, who has overcome her past, comes to Bellocq's house with the intention to take Violet with her. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

1917. The red-light district of New Orleans. The story of the women. The photographer. And the prostitute's daughter. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The title is inspired by the Tony Jackson song, which is used in the soundtrack. See more »

Goofs

After Violet stands up from trying to have her nude picture taken a man can be seen in the reflective part of the camera. See more »

Quotes

Bellocq: [about Violet] What will become of her now?
Nell: What's going on with you? You don't have to worry about her. She's made a lot of money. She can do as she likes.
Bellocq: She's only twelve. She's completely alone.
Nell: Bellocq, you're in love with her.
Bellocq: Don't be absurd.
Nell: I've seen it a thousand times. I am old, and I know one thing - life is very long.
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Crazy Credits

The closing credits include a card that states, "With our gratitude for the priceless music of FERDINAND "JELLY ROLL" MORTON." See more »

Alternate Versions

Against his own wishes UK censor James Ferman was forced to make minor edits to the original cinema version under the 1978 Protection of Children Act, and pubic hair was optically airbrushed onto a scene where Brooke Shields is sitting with her legs slightly spread so that 'the actual cleft was not visible'. A further cut was also made to remove a very brief shot of her standing up in a bath. The edits were fully waived for the 1987 video release. See more »


Soundtracks

At A Georgia Camp Meeting
(uncredited)
composed by Kerry Mills
Performed by the house band during the hide-and-seek sequence.
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User Reviews

Beautiful, intelligent, evocative
17 August 2004 | by dragonfly77See all my reviews

Louis Malle did an amazing job of portraying the Storyville life (red light district), and the lives of the women caught up in it. He gets the finest work out of his cast, and demonstrates what it makes him a master filmmaker: not someone who just makes movies to impress other directors, but someone who touches an audience.

He begins and ends the film with the camera slowly closing in on the wide eyes of its child-lead, making you wonder how her life will proceed, having seen what she's seen. It makes you wonder whether marriage, in those times, was any different for a woman than prostitution. Mostly, you have to wonder how Violet could adapt to normal life, with the strange perspective she's had on it so far.

The petulance and "spoiled"ness described in the review below, are merely her childishness, to illustrate that she is an ordinary child in bizarre circumstances. For those not carried away by Shields' appearance, this made the film very poignant -- this child doesn't even know that there is any other way to live.

And the viewer can put away concerns for Shields herself: the nude scenes were done by a body-double, despite what is listed in the "trivia" section of this listing. (I know someone who later worked with the body double.)


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 April 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Pretty Baby See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$5,786,368

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$5,786,368
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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