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Baby Face

By Luisa F. Ribeiro | Posted

Before Hollywood applied the infamous Production Code to itself in 1934 to stave off outside censorship, studios often outdid themselves with films of startlingly frank content. One of the boldest was 1933's Baby Face, starring a brash and raw Barbara Stanwyck as Lily Powers, a beautiful young woman whose father callously uses her as a boy toy for his business associates. She decides the only way to make it in the world is to turn the tables and use men for her own means, and her gold-digging audacity takes her right to the top. In Production Code Hollywood such characters invariably come to no good end; in Baby Face, Lily not only goes unpunished, but she downright enjoys the fruits of her labors before ending up with a good man played by the ever-stalwart George Brent. (The film did raise conservative hackles, though, and was banned in one state.) Amusingly, one early victim of Lily's charms is a youthful (and strikingly good-looking) John Wayne.

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