Movie Night with Catherine Breillat: BABY DOLL
Monday, March 7
Tonight at 7:00pm! Provocative French auteur Catherine Breillat (Fat Girl, Romance, The Last Mistress) in person to present and discuss a personal favorite, Elia Kazan’s steamy 1956 drama BABY DOLL.
“Elia Kazan was not known for his drolleries, although his sometime collaborator Tennessee Williams had a taste for the absurd. Together, these two giants of the post–World War II stage (and screen) concocted an outrageous comedy about a Mississippi Delta child bride (Carroll Baker) who refuses to allow her glad-hander, cotton-gin proprietor husband (Karl Malden) to touch her, and then gets herself seduced (maybe) by his hated, ultra-ethnic rival (Eli Wallach).
“Released in the Year of Our Elvis 1956, this mad Actors Studio farce—complete with one of Hollywood’s first rock-and-roll scores (mainly Smiley Lewis chanting ‘Shame, Shame, Shame’)—was publicized with one of the largest posters in the history of Times Square: the unforgettable icon of a nightie-clad Baker curled up in a rumpled crib, sucking… her thumb. BABY DOLL was instantly condemned by the Legion of Decency. Two days before it opened, New York’s Catholic Archbishop, Francis Cardinal Spellman, made his first pulpit appearance in the seven years since excoriating the Hungarian Communists who jailed Cardinal Mindszenty, informing his flock that seeing BABY DOLL was in itself a sin: The movie was ‘evil in concept . . . certain to exert an immoral and corrupting influence on those who see it’—not to mention the entire nation. (Joseph Kennedy refused to have it shown in his theater chain.)” – J. Hoberman, Village Voice