Baby Doll (1956)

ELIA KAZAN

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5

USA, 1956.  .  Screenplay by .   Cinematography by .  Produced by Elia Kazan.  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 1956.  Golden Globe Awards 1956.

Carroll Baker‘s performance is the best reason to see this film by Elia Kazan.  Like most of Tennessee Williams’ works, the story features characters and situations that are overripe with strangeness, but Baker’s work and the supporting performances by  and Mildred Dunnock make the calculated oddities work very well.  Baker marries Karl Malden as a young teenager and still sleeps in a crib, not letting her husband come anywhere near her until she’s old enough (according to her late father’s wishes). At the same time, she insists on his fixing up the house with expensive furniture that he can’t afford in order to make her happy. Moody photography and excellent dialogue are a plus in this memorable Sothern Gothic tale.

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