Baby Face: The Uncut Version and Two Seconds | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Baby Face: The Uncut Version and Two Seconds


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Even in its censored 70-minute version, Baby Face (1933) has long been celebrated as one of the Depression era's raciest movies, and this recently discovered uncut version, with six minutes of extra footage, is even more explicit and sordid. Sexy, steely Barbara Stanwyck is a small-town prostitute initially pimped by her bootlegger father; with her only friend (Theresa Harris), a black woman who eventually becomes her maid, she moves to the city, and armed with nihilist sayings by Nietzsche, starts screwing her way up the corporate ladder (though she rebuffs John Wayne, seen in an early bit part). Darryl F. Zanuck supplied the original story, and the underrated Alfred E. Green directed. Rounding off this dynamic double bill, which launches the Music Box's "Forbidden Hollywood" matinee series, is Mervyn LeRoy's Two Seconds (1932, 68 min.), adapted from an Elliott Lester play; though stagy, it stars Edward G. Robinson in his most bravura performance, as a condemned murderer reliving his doomed marriage and the accidental death of his best friend on a construction site. Fri 10/14 and Sun 10/16, Music Box.

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