7.6/10
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143 user 44 critic

Baby Face (1933)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 17 November 1933 (France)
Trailer
1:57 | Trailer
A young woman, sexually exploited all her life, decides to turn the tables and exploit the hapless men at a big city bank - by gleefully sleeping her way to the top.

Director:

Alfred E. Green

Writers:

Gene Markey (screen play), Kathryn Scola (screen play) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Barbara Stanwyck ... Lily
George Brent ... Trenholm
Donald Cook ... Stevens
Alphonse Ethier ... Cragg
Henry Kolker ... Carter
Margaret Lindsay ... Ann Carter
Arthur Hohl ... Ed Sipple
John Wayne ... Jimmy McCoy Jr.
Robert Barrat ... Nick Powers
Douglass Dumbrille ... Brody (as Douglas Dumbrille)
Theresa Harris ... Chico
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Storyline

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 <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

SHE'S THE KIND OF A GIRL THAT MEN REGRET (Print Ad- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,((Pittsburgh, Penna.)) 27 June 1933) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

17 November 1933 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

A Mulher que Nos Perde See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$187,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (restored) | (uncut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Originally banned in some US cities due to its sexual innuendo. See more »

Goofs

After Lily mentions to Courtland she would like to be a Mrs., there are two shots of newspapers announcing the wedding. The second shot is a close up of two paragraphs. The first paragraph misspells Courtland's name as "Courtney" and the word company as "comany." See more »

Quotes

Stevens: Lily, don't do this to me. I can't stand it. Its been brutal not seeing you.
Lily Powers: Yeah? Well, you better get used to it. Listen, I don't owe you a thing. Whatever I do is my own business. You never had but one idea about me. That's all I ever meant to you.
Stevens: Oh, but, Lily...
Lily Powers: You made your choice. Now, what do you want?
Stevens: You mean - I can't - see you anymore?
Lily Powers: [Sarcastically] How did you guess it?
See more »

Alternate Versions

The Bowdlerized release version also has a final scene tacked on, which tells how the heroine learned to be content with a more modest lifestyle. This scene is happily removed from the restored version. See more »


Soundtracks

Dardanella
(1919) (uncredited)
Music by Felix Bernard and Johnny Black
Played on a player piano in Powers' speakeasy
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Pre-code Stanwyck ROCKS
7 May 2006 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

"Baby Face" is a precode melodrama starring a very young Barbara Stanwyck, an almost unrecognizable George Brent, and Theresa Harris. It's about a girl who goes to the city to make good...or should I say make time. Stanwyck's father has been pimping her for one reason or another her whole life in dingy, depressed, filthy Erie, Pennsylvania. After her father dies, one older father type who knows what she's been through and truly cares about her future advises her to go to the big city and take advantage of opportunities there - and not the easy ones - and to take the high road in life. (Note that I saw the censored version and not the uncut - this part of the film was redone for the censors.) She and Chico (Harris) go to New York where Lily (nickname: Baby Face) decides the low road's a lot smoother and will get her where she wants to go a lot faster. In the movie's most famous scene, the camera moves us up the corporate ladder by taking us from floor to floor as Lily sleeps her way to the top. She finally corrals the big man himself and is able to quit her day job. Trouble follows, and she's soon involved in a huge scandal.

Stanwyck wears lots of makeup and for most of the film is cool as a cucumber as she seduces one man after another with no regrets, and she's great at playing the innocent victim. In one scene, she sits staring at a king's ransom in jewels while wearing a black dress that looks like it's decorated with diamonds at the top. Then she asks Chico for another case, and that's filled with more jewelry, plus securities. All in a day's work.

Theresa Harris was an interesting talent - she could be played down or glamorous, and was a talented singer and dancer as well. Here, she sings or hums the movie's theme, "St. Louis Woman" throughout. She worked in literally dozens of movies and is very good here as a friend of Stanwyck's, her best work being in the precode era. As a bizarre byproduct of the code, blacks were often given less to do in films after it was put in place.

Precode films could be more sexually blatant and therefore, though they're 70+ years old, seem more modern. Even though these films didn't have to have moral endings, Baby Face learns her lessons - how like life it is after all. There were several endings of this film, all with the same message. The one I saw had an added scene, but apparently, there were two other endings that didn't pass the censors. (There wasn't a code but there were always censors.) At any rate, it's a neat surprise. "Baby Face" is an important film in movie history - a must see.


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