Baby Face

She climbed the ladder of success - wrong by wrong!

76 min     7.3     1933     USA


A young woman uses her body and her sexuality to help her climb the social ladder, but soon begins to wonder if her new status will ever bring her happiness.


CinemaSerf wrote:
Barbara Stanwyck is at the top of her game in this cracking story of a young girl "Lily" who thanks to her pal "Cragg" (Alphonse Ethier) and some ideology from Nietzsche quickly discovers that she can use her femininity and her brains to get on in life. When her exploitative father has a rather unfortunate accident with a still, she heads to the big city where she shrewdly works her way through the bosses (including a young John Wayne) right to the top - accumulating wealth and wrecking relationships and marriages as she goes. Will she manage to get away with it all, or will she get her comeuppance? Well you will have to watch and see, but along the way we get a frequently humorous depiction of a lady who knows exactly how to manipulate these shallow, fickle and all-too-often stupidly horny men for her own advantage. She is not ruthless with everyone, though. She stays friends with her old companion "Chico" (Theresa Harris) whose observations and gentle ditties pepper the relentlessness as "Lily" quite literally gets to the top of the pile. Though it is entertaining to watch her use and abuse her menfolk, I can't say that I especially warmed to her character as she started to develop a rather thoughtless, maybe even cruel, streak - especially with the emotionally challenged "Trenholm" (George Brent) - her pièce de resistance! Without being graphic, this is a splendid piece of sexually charged cinema, and Miss Stanwyck almost glows with sultriness and ambition. The use of the exterior of the building to illustrate her climb up the ladder of success is fun, as are the increasing scenarios of confusion and desperation among the men whose attentions she craves, uses and steps on to leave behind. Great fun and pokes a potent finger at many of the flaws in a "man's world". Sexy, clever and well worth a watch.