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Plot:

Living in Tiger Tail County, Mississippi, middle aged Archie Lee Meighan and nineteen year old “Baby Doll” Meighan née McCargo have been married for close to two years. Their marriage is not based on love, but each getting what they want from the other. Their marriage agreement has them consummating their marriage on her twentieth birthday, which is in three days, the act to which Baby Doll is not really looking forward. But she does taunt him and other men with her overt “baby doll” sexuality, the baby doll aspect which she fosters by sleeping in their house’s nursery in a crib. Baby Doll’s now deceased father allowed the marriage on the stipulation that Archie Lee provide Baby Doll financial security as displayed by the most resplendent house in the south. They currently live in a dilapidated mansion with her Aunt Rose Comfort, and although Archie Lee is making some renovations on it, he no longer has the financial means to make it what Baby Doll wants as his cotton ginning competitor, the recently arrived Sicilian Silva Vacarro who runs the cotton plantation syndicate, has effectively put him and many others in the area out of business. The Meighan’s fortunes may change after Vacarro’s cotton gin burns down in a case of arson. Vacarro is certain Archie Lee is the arsonist. After meeting the Meighans and learning more about their marriage, Vacarro believes the way to get what he wants is through Baby Doll. This action begins the three way battle of wills between Vacarro, Archie Lee and Baby Doll.

Also Known As: Mississippi Woman, Papusica, I foni tou pothou, Boneca de Carne, A Voz do Desejo, Baby Doll, la poupée de chair, Baby Doll - Begehre nicht des anderen Weib West, Baby Doll, La poupée de chair, Bebi doru, Nukkevaimo, Babuci, Kouklitsa, Laleczka, Бейби Дол, La bambola di carne, Twenty-Seven Wagon Loads of Cotton, Куколка Soviet, Η Φωνή του Πόθου, Baby Doll - Begehre nicht des anderen Weib, Baby Doll - La bambola viva, Tas bebegim

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  • sophie-philippe
    sophie philippe

    When this classic was released in 1956, it had the Catholic church all in an uproar and everybody else it seems, because it was pulled from many many theaters because of the protests. Today, this Tennessee Williams screenplay seems pretty mild, if not very mild, but it is also one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. I didn’t get my first chance to see it until many years later on VHS, and when I did, I didn’t think too much about it at the time, except for the amazing tour-de-force performance of Karl Malden. The story takes place in the deep south, and revolves around the 19 year old child bride Baby Doll, Carroll Baker, who agreed to marry Malden a year earlier, but the deal is he can’t touch her until her twentieth birthday, which in the movie is the next day. Into the picture comes Eli Wallach as a local owner of a new syndicated cotton mill, which has the locals in an uproar especially Malden who has his own cotton gin mill. Wallach’s mill gets burned down, and the chief suspect is Malden, so he makes a visit to the rundown old mansion house where Malden, Baby Doll, and their hilarious crazy Aunt Rose resides. Then Wallach starts making moves on Baby Doll and the results is some of the funniest dialogue you will ever see in a movie. The whole movie is Tennessee Williams take on the old South and he doesn’t pull any punches on the stereotypes. I haven’t laughed so much throughout the entire movie for a long time, it is absolutely hilarious. And Carroll Baker as Baby Doll is one of the great characters of cinema, and a role she had a long time living down, in fact she was known as Baby Doll for years and years. If you want to have an absolute ball with a movie, and laugh your ass off, then you definitely need to see “Baby Doll”. It’s one of the most infamous movies of all time, and gives you a chance to see what the moral standards were in 1956, which today is very laughable. It’s a truly excellent movie, and I recommend it very very highly. Oh, and it was nominated for four Academy Awards, and won the Golden Globe for the excellent direction by Elia Kazan.

  • zevlude-deryanur-hayrioglu
    zevlude deryanur hayrioglu

    This movie succeeds in building up the magnetic character of Baby Doll, the mentally brittle underage bride to a middle-aged hillbilly, a protected Southern Belle who was handed down from her daddy to her husband.But apart from that, the movie fails. It’s running at close to two hours when the plot barely fills a single one. Come to think of it, there isn’t much of a plot to begin with. The script is the adaptation of two single-act plays by Tennessee Williams, and I guess that they simply didn’t gel into a unified plot. There is no development, no suspense, no action, instead the camera seems to linger on unpleasantness such “Baby Doll” weeping hysterically or Karl Malden throwing a childish tantrum. Overall I found this movie very difficult to sit through.Elias Kazan probably tried to do something similar to his big success “A Streetcar Named Desire” from five years earlier, this time with a young protagonist rather than an aging one, but unfortunately it just doesn’t work out. I’d blame the script which didn’t have enough meat on it.Bottom line: not all movies that tried to push back the Hays Code came out as classics. Watch this if you are a movie buff as an interesting precursor to the 1962 Lolita.

  • jacques-allain
    jacques allain

    I had the chance of seeing this film a couple of years ago at The National Film and Television Theatre in London. Beautifully shot and a difficult subject to conquer but the film lived up to its expectations. Very good. Please don’t let the other user’s comments put you off seeing this classic

  • william-dennis
    william dennis

    Three years ago, I had a delightful dinner with Carroll Baker (star of “Baby Doll”) at the Manhattan home of our mutual literary agent, Marianne Strong. About thirty years earlier, I once had lunch with Tennessee Williams (author of “Baby Doll”) in Florida (I ate my lunch, he drank his). Ms Baker and Mr Williams were both very gracious to me, and they kindly answered my many questions about their respective careers … but when I brought up “Baby Doll”, both of them changed the subject. I understand why.”Baby Doll” became instantly notorious when Archbishop Sheen (who hadn’t seen it) denounced it as obscene before its release. This only persuaded people to go see it. For those seeking prurient thrills, this movie starts out promisingly: leering Karl Malden pokes a hole through the wall so he can spy on the infantilised (but very definitely nubile) Baker while she sleeps in a too-short nightie and a crib-like bed, sucking her thumb.But that’s as raunchy as it gets. From there on, we’re firmly in Tennessee Williams’s usual domain, where horny Eli Wallach tries to seduce sexy Baker by philosophising about good people and bad people.”Baby Doll” takes place in the Mississippi Delta during segregation, so I was saddened that the only realistic parts of this movie were the all-too-real racial epithets, racist dialogue, and a shot of a black woman standing in front of a sign marked “Colored”. Baker gives an excellent performance as a typical Tennessee Williams heroine: a ding-dong southern belle who would never exist in real life, and whose legal name is Baby Doll.Speaking of names: why do American southerners insist on double forenames? In this movie, nobody ever addresses anyone else by a simple name like Archie or Rose: it has to be “Archie Lee” and “Rose Comfort”.Some actors have wide ranges, and some good actors are brilliant in a narrow range. Karl Malden has what I call a polarised range: he’s very good at portraying incorruptible pillars of morality, and very good at playing complete scumballs with no redeeming traits, but far less effective at playing realistic human beings in the middle of the moral spectrum. Here he’s in full scumball mode, drooling over Baker while burning down Eli Wallach’s cotton mill. Malden’s character is an alcoholic who could store his booze in a conventional liquor cabinet, but Williams has him stashing it in hiding places because this is more decadent. I was impressed when Malden shared his pint with a po’ black man, but that could be for other reasons besides generosity: most alcoholics feel less guilt when someone else is drinking too.Wallach, an actor I’ve admired elsewhere, gives an implausible performance here in a badly-written role. When his mill is torched, he goes to Malden’s house (the standard southern Gothic mansion that’s seen better days) seeking justice or revenge. But he takes one look at Baby Doll, and soon he’s galumphing through the house blowing a trumpet, pursuing her in a live-action version of those cartoon chase sequences where two characters keep popping in and out of different doors. When Williams runs out of ways for Wallach to make a fool of himself, suddenly Wallach remembers that he’s supposed to be angry about having his livelihood destroyed in a criminal act. Funny how these little things can slip one’s mind.Wallach’s character is meant to be a sharpie, but he seems to believe that a note written by one person and signed under duress by someone else, with no witness nor notary, is an “affidavit”. Nope.Character actress Mildred Dunnock, usually brilliant, is here cast as one more ineffectual old southern ex-belle, losing her brains when she entered menopause. For most of “Baby Doll”, Dunnock seems to be channelling Doro Merande and ZaSu Pitts, all adenoids and flutters … but then she suddenly comes into her own, late in the film, when her character stands up for herself.Rip Torn (seen only from the shoulders up) and Lonny Chapman are excellent in small roles. About 15 years after directing this movie, Elia Kazan wrote a novel, “The Arrangement”, that affected to be a mature look at sexuality but which was all leering prurience. He directed this movie with that same attitude. Everyone here has done better work elsewhere, with the possible exception of a few genuine Mississippians cast in small roles in this film. My rating: 4 out of 10. Yew git awn back t’ bed, Baby Doll, heah?

  • hr-mathias-thorsen
    hr mathias thorsen

    “Gone With the Wind,” with umpteen writers (including Selznick on benzedrine), a fistful of directors, Brits talking “Southern” and a cast of thousands — though hardly Shakespeare — still holds up brilliantly.”Baby Doll,” with Kazan and his New York’s Actors’ Studio “method” players treating Tennessee Williams’ “controversial” claptrap as if it were Art didn’t hold up then and completely falls apart today.The laughable “Southern” accents from Strasberg’s Yankees are so far removed from actual Southern speech that they render Williams’ clownish characters immediately insulting. (Any of the local extras from Benoit, Mississippi are more real and affecting, in their brief moments and lines, than anybody else on screen.) Coming off “Streetcar,” this dreck is especially disheartening from all participants.It doesn’t know whether it’s drama, comedy, farce, tragedy, Southern Gothic, Dixie neo-realism, minstrel show, sexploitation or social commentary. So it showcases every tawdry cliché in the book: including howling hound dogs and clucking chickens roaming through the house for “atmosphere.” The leads, at various points, actually imitate the sound of clucking chickens. Symbolism. Get it? (An old cliché used to devastating effect at the climax of von Sternberg’s “The Blue Angel” with Emil Jannings 30 years earlier.) “Baby Doll,” for all its pre-publicity carny-barker “sexiness” and slip-wearing female lead (another cheap Williams cliché, pathetic in retrospect) is nothing but anti-climaxes. There’s only stagy “chemistry,” nothing builds, nothing goes anywhere, nothing explodes — except a cotton gin.”Baby Doll”, though almost unbearably boring to watch on any level, is interesting only as a halfway marker between Williams’ magnificent lyrical genius in “The Glass Menagerie” and his bottoming-out in the embarrassing pseudo-poetic desperation of “Suddenly, Last Summer” and “Night of the Iguanas” (rendered intermittently worthwhile only by the incomparable Deborah Kerr).Here, Williams tries and fails to rescue his woozy would-be white-trash dramedy (as if we hadn’t stopped caring 90 minutes ago) with Carroll Baker’s final immortal line to Mildred Dunnock: “We’ll just have to wait and see . . . if we’re remembered or forgotten.” Cockadoodledoo, Blanche.

  • diego-souza
    diego souza

    Two Southern rivals battle over cotton gins and dumb-as-a-rock wife.Seldom have so many theatrical heavyweights been responsible for such a misfire. The movie may have been cutting edge in the repressed 1950’s, but the results are now almost unwatchable. It’s impossible to tell what the movie makers had in mind outside of enraging public watchdogs with an iconic photo of a thumb-sucking Baby Doll (Baker). But, whatever their intentions, the movie’s now mainly an exercise in the grotesque. I’m sure all the bluster and bellow are nowhere to be found in Karl Malden’s Book of Fond Memories.For example, there’s that horribly over-extended scene between Silva (Wallach) and Baby Doll that has to be one of the most excruciatingly overdrawn on record. The point is made in the first three-minutes, so why pointlessly drag it out for twenty, except maybe to fill empty screen time with some of the silliest shenanigans imaginable. Then too, much of that wasted time could have expanded the roles of such capable performers as Chapman, Torn, and especially Dunnock in a small part that unfortunately a hundred lesser actresses could have minced through. All I can say is if this was supposed to be sophisticated farce, the groans way out-number the chuckles.No need to go on, except to point out the one redeeming feature, namely, an unvarnished glimpse of the rural South you won’t see in Gone With The Wind. Yes indeed, somehow I missed this mess back in ’57. Now I know how lucky I was.

  • eric-robles
    eric robles

    In Tiger Tail County, Mississippi, the decadent middle aged Archie Lee Meighan (Karl Malden) has been married with the spoiled and stupid Baby Doll Meighan (Carroll Baker) for two years and has not consummated his marriage yet. Archie has promised to his father-in-law in the death bed to wait until Baby Doll is twenty years old to have sex with her and they live in a dilapidated mansion with Baby Doll’s aunt. When the Sicilian Silva Vacarro (Eli Wallach) brings a new cotton-spinning machine to the county, Archie loses his business and is completely broken. On the eve of Baby Doll’s twentieth birthday, Archie Lee burns down Vacarro’s machine. The Sicilian suspects that Archie is the responsible for the criminal fire and he heads to Archie’s property to use his old machine. While Archie is buying a cylinder to replace a damaged one in the machine, Vacarro seduces the despicable Baby Doll and forces her to sign a confession that Archie has burnt his equipment. When Archie returns home, he gets crazy with the situation.”Baby Doll” is an unpleasant and boring film and absolutely overrated in IMDb and mislead by the storyline telling that it is a “steamy tale” of two Southern rivals and a sensuous 19-year-old virgin. Actually it is a pointless soap-opera. When this film was released, the National Legion of Decency wanted to have the film banned. Once again the censorship promotes an average film to the status of cult. My vote is four.Title (Brazil): “Boneca de Carne” (“Flesh Doll”)

  • mgr-anupm
    mgr anupm

    This movie got a lot of publicity because (1) – it was considered “scandalous” in the mid 1950s; (2) Elia Kazan directed it; and (3) Tennessee Williams wrote it.The problem is that today this is a lot more laughable than scandalous; this might be Kazan’s worst movie and it might Williams’ worst story. Add to that some brutally poor wooden acting by Carroll Baker, who also had one of worst voices ever for a female movie star, and you have a real turkey. In that respect, if they want a 19-year-old to sound like she’s seven, maybe they got the right actress, after all. Carroll Baker was never really mistaken for Bette Davis, acting-wise.This is beyond soap opera, and don’t look for eroticism despite Baker’s pretty face. This wouldn’t turn too many people on, and I doubt it did even back in the ’50s. Karl Malden and Eli Wallach aren’t bad as the male leads but this film’s reputation is so much higher than what it delivers, it’s ridiculous.Don’t let all those big names above fool you. This is pure trash and totally boring, which might be its worst “sin.”

  • karina-wojtys
    karina wojtys

    I think Baby Doll is by far the best movie based on a Tennessee Williams work. I know I’m in the minority in not being moved by the Streetcar film, but to me Marlon Brando is so brilliant, he overshadows everyone else in the movie. That included Vivien Leigh, as Blanche DuBois, one of the greatest creations in Twentieth Century drama.Baby Doll is raucous, funny, nasty, and intensely erotic, even now, nearly 50 years after its release. From everything I’ve read about Williams’s personality and views of his own writing, this is the truest to his spirit.Carroll Baker is excellent and 25 years later could have made a fine Blanche. Eli Wallach is funny and believable as a turnon to Baker. Karl Malden does well with a somewhat overwritten part and Mildred Dunnock — both of these actors being Williams veterans — is sweet in the underwritten role of the sublimely named Aunt Rose Comfort.When I got my first VCR, in 1985, there were three movies I wanted most to see: Baby Doll, The Magnificent Ambersons, and Detour.The Magnificent Ambersons, of course, is a great movie (better, for me, than Citizen Kane); Detour is good but not by any means my favorite noir.Baby Doll has lived up to my highest expectations.

  • david-curtis
    david curtis

    This is what Karl Marx said about history repeating itself in his 1852 essay, “The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte.” “Brumaire” is the second month of the French Republican calendar and refers to fog. I think the same concept can be applied to Baby Doll in relation to the 1953 movie that Tennessee Williams also wrote and Elia Kazan also directed, A Streetcar Named Desire. In Streetcar, we grow to identify with and even love the characters played by Vivian Leigh and Marlon Brando. In Baby Doll we are more likely to hold the protagonists in contempt.This does not mean that Baby Doll is badly written, directed, or acted. It is just too much. Everything is extreme and exaggerated. It’s hard to take seriously and sometimes appears as grotesque comedy. Yet Williams was intimately familiar with the American South. Maybe farce was a valid way to see it in 1955.

  • kristin-cline
    kristin cline

    I don’t know exactly what “Baby Doll” is. It’s got all the Southern Gothic trappings of Tennessee Williams’ darkest work, but it’s not especially dark in story or themes. Nothing about it seems significant enough to raise it to the level of serious drama. So is it a comedy? Maybe, or at least Tennessee Williams’ version of one. I did laugh, but I’m not sure whether that was because I found things truly funny or whether it was a defense mechanism in the absence of knowing what else to do.A young married woman doesn’t want to have sex with her husband because he’s…well, kinda gross….but she’s super turned on by her husband’s more successful business rival, who spends the entire film chasing her around her dead father’s giant, dilapidated mansion trying to get in her pants. And that’s it. That’s what “Baby Doll” is about. It seems to be mostly an exploration of middle age male failure and emasculation, but I’m not sure what it has to say about the topic. Karl Malden plays the kinda gross husband who can’t make a success of anything — his business, his marriage, his sex life. He’s a failure in pretty much every way traditionally thought to define a man. Eli Wallach, on the other hand, is successful in all the ways Malden is not, including but not limited to the ability to turn on his wife. And Carroll Baker is the eponymous Baby Doll, a woman child who seems not to understand the allure she has over men, and seems to both kind of like it and kind of not.Baker received an Oscar nomination for her performance. Mildred Dunnock, who plays an addled aunt, was also nominated in the supporting actress category, but I have no idea why. She has 12 minutes or so of screen time (I timed it) and has very little to do other than look lost. A weak year for contenders, perhaps? The film also brought nominations to Williams for his adapted screenplay and to Boris Kaufman for the film’s black and white cinematography.Grade: A-

  • p-ik-ria-chincharauli
    p ik ria chincharauli

    My Grandfather was Eades Hogue. Though I never met him, I can get an idea of his personality from this film. He was a good Mississippi man. This film has always been very special to our family. For me, this shows the magic of film. It brings people that never met together and it allows people of a different time some new incite on the period. Many people do not realize that my grandfather took Elia Kazan Deer Hunting. He enjoyed the experience. Although I have heard that in Mr. Kazan’s auto-biography he wrote of how awful it was. My father remembers the film vividly. The scene in which the men are eating pizza is very interesting. That scene was filmed in a New York studio. When my grandfather is eating pizza that is the first time he ever ate pizza. I can officially say that he very much enjoyed it. I have to ask where can I get a copy of this film on DVD? My family sure would appreciate it. Thanks, John

  • harrison-fletcher
    harrison fletcher

    Karl Malden and Eli Wallach make terrific, prickly adversaries in this Tennessee Williams adaptation of two of his one-act plays, “27 Wagons Full of Cotton” and “The Unsatisfactory Supper”. Williams incorporates all levels of dramatic material into this grand Southern stew, which doesn’t appear to be very lofty or complicated at the outset, yet its deeper meanings eventually come to the surface (and are even more pronounced upon repeat viewings). Mississippi cotton-gin owner Malden lives with his virginal bride and her batty aunt in a dilapidated manor; he has agreed not to touch wife Baby Doll until her 20th birthday, which is nearing closer, but a rival cotton entrepreneur may get to her first. The film is loony-tunes nuttiness with a carnal edge, and frisky-yet-halting Carroll Baker is the perfect backwater tease. Elia Kazan directs with a straightforward simplicity that catches you off-guard (you don’t know whose side he is on), and as Malden, playing the ultimate chump and buffoon, gets more and more crazed, one feels for him even though he’s been made to seem pathetic. Once Wallach enters, striding up and down like a Sicilian Snidely Whiplash, Malden’s character nearly becomes irrelevant, but there’s an amazing last act where the three principals sit down to dinner–and an even more incredible tag wherein Baby Doll matures in a hurry. Baker’s resolute defeat here is heartbreaking, yet Williams and Kazan are careful to put a wry spin on the whole thing. It’s the ultimate dirty joke–and yet there’s really nothing dirty in it. All the secondary actors are splendid (particularly Madeleine Sherwood as a doctor’s assistant) and the atmosphere is vividly captured, with wind and leaves whistling about and flies in the air. Baker looks great curled up in her crib (with the slats down), but when it is Wallach’s turn to bed down, it’s the best sight gag in the movie. *** from ****

  • nerses-khach-ents
    nerses khach ents

    A leering, absurd comedy-drama set in good ole’ Mississippi in the mid-1950’s, “Baby Doll” is full of the hardscrabble rural raunch that Tennessee Williams always managed to grow his best crops in. A sultry Carol Baker plays the child-bride of blustery ever-distracted blow-hard Karl Malden, who’s business rival (expertly played by Eli Wallach in his film debut) turns up the heat after he suspects Malden of torching his cotton mill.Wallach’s character is bent on receiving satisfaction, regardless of what form it takes. The acting is, at times, enjoyably over-the-top, and the entire cast is undeniably watchable. Baker and Wallach ignite more than their share of mutual sexual tension, to the point where one would gain some understanding as to why this film was so famously condemned when it was first released over a half-century ago. Although less smutty by today’s standards, it positively sweats!

  • kalnins-rita
    kalnins rita

    The #1 Reason why you should see this movie is….Karl Maldin? nah, Eli Wallach? maybe, Elia Kazan directed it? hmmm. No, the #1 Reason why you should see this movie is CARROLL BAKER!! This Extremely beautiful actress will hypnotize you with her looks. She delivers an incredible performance and is a true delight to the senses. I love this film. Time magazine described Baby Doll as “possibly the dirtiest American-made motion picture that has ever been legally exhibited.” I think this may be a little bit of an exaggeration, but I found it very erotic. Rent this movie tonight!!!

  • julie-krejcova
    julie krejcova

    “Baby Doll” (1956) was not just way ahead of its time. Somehow Elia Kazan managed to make and release what is arguably the most erotic film of all time to a Hollywood and a country more uptight and restrictive than at any point in cinema history.Even more remarkable is that this clichéd story, in the tried and true Southern Gothic genre, actually transcends its medium (film); visually fusing Tennessee Williams’ literary themes and the lesions of southern history into an allegorical dramatization of Southern decadence and self-victimization.Southerners whine endlessly about their historical victimization but rarely exhibit the insight to put it all into perspective. Putting this self-indulgence and self-destruction into perspective was what Williams was all about and he deliciously condenses his recurring themes into this screenplay. Kazan was more collaborator than director; he understood what Williams felt and he knew how to make viewers feel the same things.The story is all about the invasion of personal space. In the south this meant foreigners (from the North and from Europe) coming into their land and out-competing them. The invaders were more lean and hungry than the natives. They were less self-indulgent and more willing to invest for the distant future. The natives were all about conspicuous consumption and short-term comfort.Even when forced to take a longer term perspective; Archie Lee (Karl Malden) has promised to restrain himself and defer the deflowering of Baby Doll (Carroll Baker) until her 20th birthday; the southerner impatiently fritters away the opportunity to spend his time productively. Then he finds that when the fruit finally ripens it is snatched away by a hungry opportunist.What to watch for in “Baby Doll” is the routine violation of personal space. In the claustrophobic mansion the characters have no personal privacy. It gets even worse with the invasion of Silva Vacarro (Eli Wallach); the characters are routinely in each other’s faces and the camera captures it all with increasingly tight shots. Baby Doll herself is not your standard movie nymphet coming onto an older man. Once Vacarro has taken her measure, he assaults her in almost every scene, aggressively moving into her personal space as he hungrily pursues his prize.And like the aggressive Northern invaders, Vacarro’s single-minded focus and pursuit of a goal soon overwhelms Archie; despite the fact that Archie enjoys the home field advantage and does not play fair, symbolized by the local Marshall who makes it clear to Vacarro that the law will not be applied equally.One scene that I particularly liked was when Aunt Rose (Mildred Dunnock) gives it right back to Archie at the dinner table. She has been living precariously under his roof up to this point. When he attempts to snatch away her safety she summons the dignity to stand up to him; and the camera gets tight on her face as she claims a bit more of his space.Then again, what do I know? I’m only a child.

  • matjaz-furlan
    matjaz furlan

    This is a wonderful film, and one of the more underrated, and unseen movies of Tennessee Williams works. The acting is topnotch. Karl Malden as Archie Lee, the sexually frustrated husband of Baby Doll, has never been better, and Carroll Baker is simply charming and luminous as the headstrong and chiding child bride, Baby Doll. Eli Wallach succeeds marvelously, (and surprisingly), in conveying to the hilt the sexual magnetism and intensity of Silva Vacarro, Archie Lee’s “Italian Stallion” rival in business, and ultimately for Baby Doll herself. Mildred Dunnock’s brilliant portrayal of Aunt Rose Comfort is also quite memorable.The marriage of Baby Doll to the low-class and ineffectual Archie Lee was an obvious last resort plan made years ago by Baby Doll’s dying father. Promises made by Archie Lee of restoring the estate to it’s former glory and also that he would not attempt marital relations with Baby Doll until her twentieth birthday were apparently enough to cinch the deal in this dead end world. Baby Doll is clearly repulsed by her husband and has taken to sleeping in a baby’s crib in “the nursery” to keep her distance from him. She treats him with annoyed disdain when she isn’t making fun of him and embarrassing him in front of anyone who happens to be around. Her twentieth birthday is just days away and she is clearly feeling desperate about her situation.This is the epitome of the Southern Gothic genre, although it is far from being dark or depressing. If anything, its a black comedy. The setting is the dilapidated Southern cotton plantation home, the remains of the once great estate of Baby Doll’s deceased father and forefathers. The cinematography by Boris Kaufman, which was Oscar nominated, is executed in stark, bleached out black and white. Other Oscar nominations for the film included Carroll Baker, Tennessee Williams, and Mildred Dunnock. Eli Wallach and Karl Malden also certainly deserved an Oscar nod for their great performances. This film is a must see for Tennessee Williams fans!

  • hermanis-perkons
    hermanis perkons

    The conventional wisdom on “Baby Doll” seems to be, “Oh, this movie may have been steamy in its time, but it’s totally tame now.” Oh, really? If the scene of Eli Wallach and Carroll Baker on the garden swing doesn’t leave you feeling “fuzzy and buzzy,” I suggest you get your pulse checked.

  • ing-angelica-cardona
    ing angelica cardona

    Warner Brothers initially took a huge gamble with this 1956 release. Some elements of its storyline were considered way too suggestive for films at the time (there was still no rating system yet) but the studio went ahead and released it anyway. What resulted was a huge box office hit and a star maker for Carroll Baker who has the title role of the child bride of a sometimes dense cotton gin operator (Karl Malden). Malden is a rival to another cotton gin operator (Eli Wallach) and his torching of Wallach’s cotton gin inspires Wallach to get back at Malden by having a steamy love affair with Baker. Rip Torn made his film debut here with a small part. Film reunites director Elia Kazan and screenwriter/playwright Tennessee Williams who had previously collaborated on the box office smash “A Streetcar Named Desire.” This film is also an interesting early example of what may have eventually inspired Hollywood’s film rating system.

  • univ-prof-peter-schultz
    univ prof peter schultz

    Wonderfully original, even after all this time, due to the matchless dialog of Tennessee Williams and the superb performances of the three principals, Karl Malden, Carroll Baker and Eli Wallach. Wickedly funny, sly and loopy all at the same time. A view of Southern white trash which only Tennessee Williams could have penned. Carroll Baker in a first class performance as the still-virginal but sexually precocious Baby Doll, married for two years but refusing to consummate her marriage until her twentieth birthday, looming large. Karl Malden as the frustrated husband, panting to get his hands on her, and Eli Wallach as the neighbor, determined to seduce Baby Doll before Malden, in revenge for Malden’s burning down his cotton gin. Totally off the wall characterization with rich, witty dialog that constantly takes one by surprise. Watching Malden and Baker’s characters with their dumber than dumber take on things (that totally cracks one up at their sheer stupidity!) one wonders just how much in-breeding Williams had in mind when he invented these people. Even Mildred Dunnock, as the minor fourth character of the ensemble, a batty aunt, has a full share of crazy antics that almost has one falling on the floor. Eli Wallach turns in a sly, smoother than smooth performance as the potential seducer that is wonderfully nuanced. When the movie first appeared is was condemned by the Catholic Church. Apparently there are critics who still uphold those initial views and would prefer to return to the time of total censorship than adopt a more realistic view of life. Baby Doll is not an indecent movie and never was. What it is is a glorious black comedy that has a place amongst the best works that Williams ever produced. Last, but not least, kudos to director Elia Kazan, who passed away on the very evening that this viewer was privileged to finally get to see this movie. This is definitely one for the collection!

  • oldag-sakarya
    oldag sakarya

    Back in 1956 when this movie came out it was the Legion of Decency run by the Catholic church that decided what was proper or improper to see. I remember my parents checking that list whenever I wanted to see a movie. They were divided into groups. Unobjectionable, Objectionable with certain restrictions and others but the worst one was rated Condemned. I laugh when I think about it. Baby Doll did not play in my town of 100,000 as the church would have made a big stink about it, but it did play in Boston which was 25 miles away. I did not see it then but I heard from others that did and they told me that it was very steamy. There was so much controversy about this movie that no one dared mention that they saw it in mixed company as being branded as liking porno movies. I finally saw this movie on AMC about 15 years ago and I had to smile because this was such a mild movie by today’s standards. This movie could be shown today on regular TV unedited with a PG rating. It had no nudity nor swearing. Karl Malden, Eli Walich and Carol Baker were outstanding. Still today Carol Baker is still being mentioned as Carol “Baby Doll” Baker, truly a role she will never live down. One more thing, the musical score throughout the movie is very moving. I bought the LP soundtrack long before I saw the movie and it was interesting to see how it fit. I have recorded it onto a cassette and still play it in my car. I think that it was the church and it’s censorship that made this movie so popular.

  • tarja-sillanpaa
    tarja sillanpaa

    Elia Kazan took a big chance in directing “Baby Doll”. His association with Tennessee Williams must have been the deciding factor in his coming on board. This was a film that caused quite a stir because of the direct intervention of Cardinal Spellman of New York in denouncing it for its suggestive billboard in the Times Square area and the content of the movie.This film is a testament of how to film an erotic feature without having the actors running naked all over the place. Carroll Baker, as the Baby Doll of the title, generates a lot of heat every time we see her in the opening scenes through the “peeping tom” eyes of Archie Lee, the husband still awaiting to fulfill his duty as a husband.The steamy scenes between Vaccaro and Baby Doll are incredible if one thinks of the era when it was filmed. Nothing like those torrid scenes were seen in an American film before! What is amazing is the fact this film was released at all.Unfortunately, the copy that was shown on cable recently has the worst sound track imaginable. The Southern accents from the actors don’t help things either.Karl Malden adds to the character of Archie Lee by playing it as a dumb hick who is not too worldly in matters of the bedroom. Carroll Baker had a great role in her Baby Doll. She plays her as a typical small town from that part of the South, a real teaser. Eli Wallach’s as Vaccaro brought virility and sensuality to his portrayal. Mildred Dunnock was good as Aunt Rose.This film is an oddity that heralded the liberation of Hollywood from the hated Hays Code which will come much later on.

  • mtro-noemi-jaime
    mtro noemi jaime

    The crumbling ruins of a deep south plantation, circa 1956. Karl Malden running through empty rooms, yelling “BayBee DOLLLLL!” The dementia-ridden elderly aunt forgetting to turn on the stove before cooking the greens. The old guys lounging around the yard, laughing and watching Malden’s frenzied activities like it’s must-see TV. Kooky gorgeous Baby Doll sucking her thumb, sleeping in her crib. And Eli Wallach: ah, what a specimen. He’s intense, he’s irresistible. He’s relentlessly “handsy” like a high school boy on a date; he never, ever, for a moment, lets up. It’s impossible to take your eyes off of him.This movie is perplexing and wonderful, it really is more of a place and an atmosphere than a story. Twisted, and in a good way. The characters are as wild and inexplicable as any you’ve seen in a David Lynch movie. Your jaw will drop, you’ll laugh out loud, and the whole weird place just gets better each time you watch it.

  • ferat-yildirim
    ferat yildirim

    This is a hilarious farce by Tennessee Williams, containing much self-parody. On one level, it can even be interpreted as a burlesque of his “A Streetcar Named Desire.” “Stella!” becomes “Baby Doll!” If one cannot imagine the great dramatic playwright writing comedy, then this is the film to see. Even the story is a mockery. A foolish old man, Archie Lee Meighan (Karl Malden), pretending to be a Southern gentleman, with a rundown plantation and a cotton gin, tricks another old man into letting him marry his comely teenage daughter, Baby Doll (Caroll Baker). He promises to renovate the old farm for Baby Doll and to buy her the world. She agrees if he swears not to touch her until her twentieth birthday. The foolish old man quickly becomes a laughing stock to both blacks and whites who live in the small community in the delta region (there’s a sham sign posted in the general store that reads, “Buy Arkansas”). To insure his hold on the rather worldly, not so innocent Baby Doll, Archie Lee burns down his competitor’s cotton gin. His competitor, a Sicilian named Silva Vacarro (Eli Wallach), becomes Baby Doll’s Latin lover to get back at Archie Lee.There are several memorable scenes in Elia Kazan’s direction of Tennessee William’s screenplay. The one that is most remembered because it created such a moral outrage at the time (even Baby Doll pajamas were marketed) shows Baby Doll lying in a baby crib, scantly clad in, what else?, baby doll pajamas, sucking her thumb and arousing all sorts of erotic sensations in the male observer. Another scene is one of the most laughable ever put on the big screen. Picture if you will Eli Wallach riding a hobby horse like a wild stallion while slurping lemonade from a pitcher, listening to “Shame, Shame, Shame” by Smiley Lewis on the record player. This is part of the mad Sicilian’s seduction of Baby Doll in the most childish way conceivable, ultimately falling asleep in her baby crib with Baby Doll intoning to him a lullaby.In classical dramas, tragedies naturally had tragic endings and comedies had happy endings. Tennesee Williams’ travesty doesn’t exactly have a happy ending, but it’s not a tragic ending either, more of a postponement of things to come.A personal note: I was twelve when “Baby Doll” opened in my home town in Arkansas. The churches and other so-called decency groups attempted to have it banned. There were even pickets outside the theater. Because of all the hype with pictures of Baby Doll flooding the media, I had to finagle a way to see it. Those under thirteen had to be accompanied by an adult (this was before the MPAA ratings system was developed–the PCA was beginning to bend its strict rules as American mores were changing. I mislead my dad, who paid little attention to movie previews, into thinking it was suitable for the general public. My dad attended the film with me and seemed to enjoy it as much as I did. He never told my mother about either one of us watching it.

  • silvia-mata-montero
    silvia mata montero

    I’ve seen quite a few films in my life, but none such as this. Elia Kazan’s quirky, off-the-wall romp about revenge and justice in 1950’s Mississippi is truly remarkable. The first time I saw this movie I didn’t know how to take it; I turned on my TV one day right at the scene where Eli Wallach and Carroll Baker are upstairs playing hide and seek… It seemed disturbing, but something about it held my interest.A second viewing of this film was powerful. Karl Malden is right on the money as the loud-mouthed, frustrated, alcoholic husband; Carroll Baker, brilliant (and stunning) as Baby Doll; but I have to say, Eli Wallach SHINES as Silva Vacarro. He is so smooth, calculated, and mesmerizing as the one who “does his own justice”. Hard to believe he didn’t win an Oscar for his performance.It is worth noting Kazan’s use of the extras in this film (most of whom are African-American). Often you’ll see a man or two in the background or off to the side, observing the story as it unfolds; they are the silent and wise observers to the craziness around them. Like the scene where Karl Malden is yelling “Babeee Dolllll!!!!” from his car, and the men just sit there and watch him–you wonder what they’re thinking.A superb film! The dining room scene at the end is choice.