Baby Doll

Baby Doll

A rather peculiar film about a 19 year old girl married to a failing, middle-aged cotton gin owner. They haven’t consummated their marriage – the ever-childish Baby Doll doesn’t want to, and the husband is an obsessive voyeur – but the agreement made with the girl’s (now deceased) father is that it shall happen on her 20th birthday… two days from now. Clearly an influence on Sucker Punch, then.

As with many films of the decade it’s sometimes unfocused as it starts to juggle multiple subplots, going from a Straw Dogs-esque feel to, bizarrely, haunted house pranks. It’s a pity, because the sexually threatening overtones were interesting (if suitably uncomfortable) before the film shifted to extremely light-hearted visual gags between the same characters.

Incidentally, my how repressed people were back then. Among attempts to get the film banned, TIME called it ” the dirtiest American-made motion picture that had ever been legally exhibited”. Er, right. The characters in the film are always too shy to say “sex”. There’s a brief kiss and that’s as provocative as the film gets. Oh 50s, you so 50s.