Living in Tiger Tail County, Mississippi, middle aged Archie Lee Meighan and nineteen year old "Baby Doll" Meighan née McCargo have been married for close to two years. Their marriage is not based on love, but each getting what they want from the other. Their marriage agreement has them consummating their marriage on her twentieth birthday, which is in three days, the act to which Baby Doll is not really looking forward. But she does taunt him and other men with her overt "baby doll" sexuality, the baby doll aspect which she fosters by sleeping in their house's nursery in a crib. Baby Doll's now deceased father allowed the marriage on the stipulation that Archie Lee provide Baby Doll financial security as displayed by the most resplendent house in the south. They currently live in a dilapidated mansion with her Aunt Rose Comfort, and although Archie Lee is making some renovations on it, he no longer has the financial means to make it what Baby Doll wants as his cotton ginning ...Written by
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Archie Lee Meighan:
I am servin' you notice. If that ole woman breaks down and dies on my place, I ain't gonna get stuck with her funeral expenses. I'll have her burned up! Cremated is what they call it. And I'll pack her ashes in an ole Coca-Cola bottle and I'll pitch that bottle in the Tiger Tail bayou!
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Uproariously funny black comedy about sexual frustration.
Wonderfully original, even after all this time, due to the matchless dialog of Tennessee Williams and the superb performances of the three principals, Karl Malden, Carroll Baker and Eli Wallach. Wickedly funny, sly and loopy all at the same time. A view of Southern white trash which only Tennessee Williams could have penned. Carroll Baker in a first class performance as the still-virginal but sexually precocious Baby Doll, married for two years but refusing to consummate her marriage until her twentieth birthday, looming large. Karl Malden as the frustrated husband, panting to get his hands on her, and Eli Wallach as the neighbor, determined to seduce Baby Doll before Malden, in revenge for Malden's burning down his cotton gin. Totally off the wall characterization with rich, witty dialog that constantly takes one by surprise. Watching Malden and Baker's characters with their dumber than dumber take on things (that totally cracks one up at their sheer stupidity!) one wonders just how much in-breeding Williams had in mind when he invented these people. Even Mildred Dunnock, as the minor fourth character of the ensemble, a batty aunt, has a full share of crazy antics that almost has one falling on the floor. Eli Wallach turns in a sly, smoother than smooth performance as the potential seducer that is wonderfully nuanced. When the movie first appeared is was condemned by the Catholic Church. Apparently there are critics who still uphold those initial views and would prefer to return to the time of total censorship than adopt a more realistic view of life. Baby Doll is not an indecent movie and never was. What it is is a glorious black comedy that has a place amongst the best works that Williams ever produced. Last, but not least, kudos to director Elia Kazan, who passed away on the very evening that this viewer was privileged to finally get to see this movie. This is definitely one for the collection!
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