Saturday, October 1, 2011

Review: Baby Face (1933)

IMDb Synopsis: A young woman uses her body and her sexuality to help her climb the social ladder, but soon begins to wonder if her new status will ever bring her happiness.

If you like classic films as much as I do, you'll probably agree that one of the best things about classics is pre-codes. I think it's so interesting to see how much film makers got away with in the early thirties, as apposed to films made after the Production Code went into effect in 1934. There are so many great pre-code films that never would have made it past the Hays Office, and Baby Face is one of them.

Barbara Stanwyck's performance is top-notch. She's so convincing as Lily Powers, and this is my favorite of her earlier roles, along with Night Nurse (1931). I haven't seen many of George Brent's films, but I enjoyed his performance as well. Also notable are Donald Cook and a young John Wayne towards the beginning of his film career.

Overall, Baby Face is the most provocative pre-code film I've seen, and one of the best. I would suggest watching it if you're looking to see more pre-codes, or are just a Barbara Stanwyck fan.

5/5 stars


  1. I'm a huge fan of Precode films, because they seem so modern. Even though most of these films didn't have to have moral endings, it sounds like "Baby Face" learns her lesson. I will look for this film.

  2. 'Baby Face' may be the most notorious of the pre-Codes, and is certainly one of the best. If you're looking for it on DVD, you can find it on the "Forbidden Hollywood" collections, along with a number of other great pre-Codes (several also starring Stanwyck, such as 'Night Nurse,' which has an early appearance by a pre-stardom Clark Gable).

  3. I saw it on TCM the other night, still one of my favorite pre-Codes. One of the great Theresa Harris' few chances to really shine as well.