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Friday, June 21, 2013

Baby Face (1933)

Spurred on by a Nietzsche reading cobbler (Alphonse Ethier), a small town Pennsylvania girl (Barbara Stanwyck) moves to New York where she literally sleeps her way to the top. Leaving a wave of scandal, murder and suicide in her wake, nothing will stop her ambition. One of the most notorious of pre-code cinema, this is a fascinating watch until it goes all sentimental at the end. Given her abusive past (she was pimped out in her teens by her father), it's hard to be offended by her attitude and the men are such clucks, they seem to deserve their fates. Never has Stanwyck's brittleness been used to such a strong effect, not until DOUBLE INDEMNITY anyway. It's amusing to see a very young John Wayne as the wimpy office worker Stanwyck steps on on her climb to the top. Some 4 minutes were cut from the original theatrical release before the film could get shown. Directed by Alfred E. Green. With George Brent, Margaret Lindsay, Donald Cook and the wonderful Theresa Harris as Stanwyck's confidante.

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