The 1933 film Baby Face has got to be one of my all time favorite films. Barbara Stanwyck was an amazing woman, talented and beautiful, and this movie really showcases her acting abilities.
Lily Powers (Stanwyck) is the daughter of an entrprenurial widower in a Pennsylvania blue collar town. He runs a speakeasy, has a still out back and passes out Lily for money or favors. Her life becomes her own when an accident kills her father; she soon leaves town with her friend, Chico, using her charms to get what she wants from the world.
Arriving in New York City, Lily sets her sights on the Gotham Trust tower. Starting at the bottom, Lily works and sleeps her way to the top, her cruelty and heartlessness growing with every step. There Lily meets Courtland, the new bank president, and gets to work enticing him.
Lily experiences a different hell than what was endured in her father’s house as she climbs her way to the top, accumulating wealth and status, leaving sorrow in her wake. She’s indifferent to her cold callousness until it’s almost to late.
Baby Face is a must see, as it’s one of several movies that is considered directly responsible for the Motion Picture Production Code which provided censorship guidelines for the industry. Baby Face is racy and sexy and it’s one of Barbara Stanwyck’s best.
On a side note, John Wayne plays Jimmy McCoy, one of Lily’s conquests at the bank, before his big breakout in 1939 for Stagecoach.