Baby Face

“(This) terrifically sordid melodrama...tracks the rise of a hard-drinking, tough-talking, low-rent schemer (Barbara Stanwyck) into high society. What principally inflamed the New York Censor Board that rejected the original cut, forcing cuts and re-shoots, was that Stanwyck's aptly named Lily Powers sleeps her way to the top. The bluenoses also didn't like that the engine driving Lily's ferocious will to power is none other than Nietzsche....Preserved by the Library of Congress from an uncut negative, (this version) includes a number of crucial, forbidden moments, among them an image of Lily's father pocketing cash in exchange for her sexual services and a scene in which she thumbs through Nietzsche's Thoughts Out of Season. What is most shocking about Baby Face...is (its) unblinking attitude to class. (Women like) Lily...are forced into extenuating circumstances not because they are born bad, but because they scramble out of poverty-on their backs.”

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