Baby Face (1933)

71 or 76 mins | Drama | 1 July 1933

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HISTORY

According to Warner Bros. production records in the AMPAS Library file on the film, Baby Face was shot in eighteen days at a total cost of $187,000. MPAA/PCA records indicate that the film met with censorship problems shortly after its initial release. The Hays office recommended that the picture be pulled from the theaters for its violations of the production code. According to PCA files at AMPAS, there was extensive correspondence between officials of the AMPP and Warner Bros. executives Darryl Zanuck and Jack L. Warner regarding various changes which were intended to make the film more acceptable to censor boards across the country. The main thrust of the changes was to attach an ending which showed Lily losing everything she had gained and returning to her hometown in order that viewers would not be tempted to believe that vice was rewarded. Originally the character of the cobbler professed a Nietzchian philosophy which was unacceptable under the production code. The character was changed to become instead the moral voice of the film, and was used to indicate that the character of Lily had been wrong to advance in the by using her body. Also cut were the most blantant references to the fact that Lily was being kept by men. FD notes that the film was rejected by the Virginia censor board. Although some reviews indicate that this film led to a rift between Zanuck and Warner Bros., resulting in his departure and eventually the formation of Twentieth Century Pictures, actually Zanuck quit over a labor despute. For additional information on Zanuck's departure from Warner Bros., ... More Less

According to Warner Bros. production records in the AMPAS Library file on the film, Baby Face was shot in eighteen days at a total cost of $187,000. MPAA/PCA records indicate that the film met with censorship problems shortly after its initial release. The Hays office recommended that the picture be pulled from the theaters for its violations of the production code. According to PCA files at AMPAS, there was extensive correspondence between officials of the AMPP and Warner Bros. executives Darryl Zanuck and Jack L. Warner regarding various changes which were intended to make the film more acceptable to censor boards across the country. The main thrust of the changes was to attach an ending which showed Lily losing everything she had gained and returning to her hometown in order that viewers would not be tempted to believe that vice was rewarded. Originally the character of the cobbler professed a Nietzchian philosophy which was unacceptable under the production code. The character was changed to become instead the moral voice of the film, and was used to indicate that the character of Lily had been wrong to advance in the by using her body. Also cut were the most blantant references to the fact that Lily was being kept by men. FD notes that the film was rejected by the Virginia censor board. Although some reviews indicate that this film led to a rift between Zanuck and Warner Bros., resulting in his departure and eventually the formation of Twentieth Century Pictures, actually Zanuck quit over a labor despute. For additional information on Zanuck's departure from Warner Bros., consult the entry below for the The Bowery . More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
24 Jun 33
p. 7.
Film Daily
4 Aug 33
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Mar 33
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
24 Jun 33
p. 8.
Motion Picture Herald
1 Apr 33
pp. 24-25.
New York Times
24 Jun 33
p. 16.
Time
3 Jul 33
p. 30.
Variety
27 Jun 33
p. 15.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Vitaphone Orch cond
SOURCES
SONGS
"Baby Face," music by Harry Akst, lyrics by Benny Davis
"St. Louis Blues," music and lyrics by W. C. Handy.
DETAILS
Release Date:
1 July 1933
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
16 July 1933
Copyright Number:
LP4019
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
71 or 76
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Although Lily Powers, the beautiful young daughter of Nick Powers, a steel town speakeasy owner, struggles to protect herself from men, her father forces them on her. Finally Lily rebels and, on the advice of her friend, the local cobbler, decides to use men to get ahead. She leaves the steel town and takes her maid Chico with her to the city, where she takes a job in a bank. There she seduces men like Jimmy McCoy, his boss Brody, and eventually Ned Stevens, Brody's supervisor. Stevens sets Lily up in an apartment, although he is engaged to Ann Carter, the daughter of one of the bank's executives. Then Ann's father discovers Lily's charm and provides her with an even more elegant apartment. In a jealous rage, Stevens kills Carter, then himself, creating a scandal at the bank. Lily claims she is a victim of circumstance, convincing the bank to pay her enough money to go to Paris and make a fresh start. A well-respected socialite named Courtland Trenholm is subsequently appointed president, and after he is transferred to Paris, he too falls in love with Lily and marries her. Trenholm signs over his fortune to Lily, and when the bank is faced with bankruptcy, Lily refuses to help him. Convinced he is ruined, Trenholm decides to shoot himself, but Lily arrives in time to save his life and promise her devotion to him. After she uses her jewels to pay back the money he owes, Lily and Trenholm move to the steel town to start over ... +


Although Lily Powers, the beautiful young daughter of Nick Powers, a steel town speakeasy owner, struggles to protect herself from men, her father forces them on her. Finally Lily rebels and, on the advice of her friend, the local cobbler, decides to use men to get ahead. She leaves the steel town and takes her maid Chico with her to the city, where she takes a job in a bank. There she seduces men like Jimmy McCoy, his boss Brody, and eventually Ned Stevens, Brody's supervisor. Stevens sets Lily up in an apartment, although he is engaged to Ann Carter, the daughter of one of the bank's executives. Then Ann's father discovers Lily's charm and provides her with an even more elegant apartment. In a jealous rage, Stevens kills Carter, then himself, creating a scandal at the bank. Lily claims she is a victim of circumstance, convincing the bank to pay her enough money to go to Paris and make a fresh start. A well-respected socialite named Courtland Trenholm is subsequently appointed president, and after he is transferred to Paris, he too falls in love with Lily and marries her. Trenholm signs over his fortune to Lily, and when the bank is faced with bankruptcy, Lily refuses to help him. Convinced he is ruined, Trenholm decides to shoot himself, but Lily arrives in time to save his life and promise her devotion to him. After she uses her jewels to pay back the money he owes, Lily and Trenholm move to the steel town to start over together. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.