April 14, 2008

...Baby Face (1933) - 6 Lines about 2 Versions

Baby Face is a rather shocking (even today) look at Lily Power's climb out of the sewer in which she was born; rather than using a ladder and manhole though she uses a bed. Barbara Stanwyck is wonderful as the femme and shows much courage to have even agreed to take the part (as does a heavily made-up John Wayne in a small yet pivotal role). Nothing is left to the imagination (in the pre-release version) when Stanwyck eyes a man up and down and closes the door to a room. The honesty is compelling, forthright and, frankly, refreshing - although the ending does seem out-of-character. The theatrical version is less of everything: shock, courage, and interest. Stanwyck's sex-capades are watered down (scenes are cut after the couple eye each other, Baby Face does not berate her father for turning her into a whore at 14) and an additional feel-real-good ending has been tacked on - all to appease the Motion Picture Code so certainly, watch the film as the filmmakers intended.

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