I think I have a new favorite movie, people. On the one hand, I can’t believe I’ve never seen it before, and on the other hand, it's one of my favorite things in this life to discover a sparkling gem that's been waiting patiently for me all along.
Have y’all seen Baby Doll? If you haven’t, you’re in for a treat. This movie, with a screenplay by Tennessee Williams (adapted from two of his one act plays) and directed by Elia Kazan, was released in 1956, and is a campy sex farce full of priceless dialogue that just begs for GAY ICON status. Again, how did I miss this? This is the story of Baby Doll Meighan (Baby Doll!) (Carol Baker), a 19 year old virgin bride who sucks her thumb and sleeps in a crib (no, not like “her crib”....an actual crib!).......and the rivalry that develops between her husband, Archie Lee (Karl Malden), a down on his luck cotton ginner, and the powerful syndicate owner Silva Vaccaro (Eli Wallach) who is putting him out of business.
This movie is as hot as it is hilarious. When it was released, it was immediately condemned by the Catholic church, which limited its box office, but does nothing to limit its enduring appeal. It seems tame by today’s standards, but don’t think that means it isn’t sexy.There’s an extended seduction scene between Baby Doll and Mr. Vaccaro that manages to be all kinds of steamy without showing a bit of flesh and no dirty talkin’. I don’t know if it’s the chemistry or the camera angles, but I had a hang-your-hat-on boner after it. And keep in mind that I’m a big queer.
So good! Here are a few treasured lines:
Baby Doll: I feel cool and rested fuh the fuhst time in mah life. That's the way I feel. Rested and cool.
Baby Doll: Excuse me, Mr. Vacarro, but I wouldn't dream of eatin' a nut that a man had cracked in his mouth.
Mr. Vaccaro: You've got many refinements.
Baby Doll: Thank you.
Archie Lee Meighan: Is that what they call a Mona Lisa smile you got on your puss?
Baby Doll: Well, let's go in now. We got nothin' to do but wait for tomorrow and see if we're remembered or forgotten.
Aunt Rose Comfort: Oh my, oh my.
So true, ladies, so true. This movie is just SCREAMING to be adapted for Broadway.