Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I Love Baby Face...


... the pre-code 1933 film starring Barbara Stanwyck as a Nietzsche-inspired harlot, and if you're a fan too you'll want to check out this article in the NYT on a new play about the African-American actress that played Babs' best bud in the movie, Theresa Harris. (If you're not a fan of the movie I just take that to mean you haven't seen it yet, so do. Then go read the article.) Fascinating stuff, especially this thought from the playwright Lynn Nottage:

"Ms. Nottage seems less interested in rescuing the African-American actresses who were her inspirations than in arguing for the complexity of their images. She sees films like “Baby Face” and movies made before the code was enforced as presenting a more realistic vision of race in America than many later films simply because they show blacks and whites existing alongside one another. “If that code hadn’t set in,” Ms. Nottage speculates, “the whole trajectory of Hollywood would have been different, and some would argue that race in America would be different because the representations of people of color and particularly of women would have been much more expansive.”

I was in awe of a lot of things about Baby Face the first time that I watched it - you can hardly make a movie that frank about aggressive female sexuality today even. It makes you crazy, the ways our society's regressed in some weird ways.

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