Baby Doll

Miami Beach Cinematheque. Jan 21st, 2010. 8:30 p.m.

The Miami Beach Cinematheque presents the film Baby Doll, kwon as one of the most controversial adaptations that ever made it to American screens, causing such a stir within the industry that it changed the system.

Baby Doll is a 1956 film which tells the story of the childlike bride of a Mississippi cotton gin owner, who becomes the pawn in a battle between her husband and his enemy. It stars Karl Malden, Carroll Baker, Eli Wallach and Mildred Dunnock. This was Wallach’s feature film debut.

The screenplay was written by Tennessee Williams and was based on his one-act play 27 Wagons Full of Cotton. The movie was directed by Elia Kazan. It was filmed in Benoit, Mississippi, in an antebellum home, the only one in Mississippi’s Bolivar County.

Elia Kazan won the Golden Globe award for Best Director for Baby Doll. It was also nominated for four other Golden Globe awards, four Academy awards and four British Academy awards, with Eli Wallach taking the BAFTA prize for “Most Promising Newcomer to Film.”

While the costume design was not nominated, the film is credited with both the name and originating the popularity of the babydoll nightgown, which derives from the costume worn by Baker’s character.

The Catholic Legion of Decency succeeded in having the film withdrawn from release in most U.S. theaters because of their objections over its sexual themes. The movie was banned in many countries like Sweden, due to what was called exaggerated sexual content. The film was also condemned by Time, which called it the “dirtiest American-made motion picture that had ever been legally exhibited”.

Miami Beach Cinematheque
512 Española Way
Miami Beach, FL 33139

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