John Wayne and Baby Face

This summer I’ve been watching pre-production code movies made between 1930-1934. The movies show women engaging in socially illicit behavior: sex outside of marriage, divorce, drinking, and not taking care of their children. In Baby Face (1933) Barbara Stanwyck plays Lily Powers, a woman who grows up in a speakeasy and in Scarlett O’Hara fashion vows never to be poor or hungry again. She goes to New York and literally sleeps her way to the top. The camera depicts her horizontal movements upward by showing the different levels of the skyscrapers. One of her thwarted conquests is John Wayne. She rejects him after he’s recommended her for a promotion. Lily already has her sight set on bigger bosses. Wayne’s distinctive voice, the hallmark of countless westerns, is filled with disappointment. He will have to wait until later in his career to get the girl.

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One Response to “John Wayne and Baby Face”

  1. Michael K. Johnson Says:

    That’s a great era for American movies. I need to brush up on Barbara Stanwyck movies. I actually associate her mainly with the western, primarily because of her role in the televisions series, The Big Valley.


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