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David Denby

Posted 6/27/2016 6:47pm by Eugene Wyatt.

In I’m No Angel (1933) Mae West, confronted by a batch of men from her past, says, “All right, I’m the sweetheart of Sigma Chi. So what?”

The New Yorker, May 2, 2016; Sex And Sexier, David Denby.

Posted 6/27/2016 6:27am by Eugene Wyatt.

In Baby Face, Lily...nabs the bank founder’s grandson (George Brent), and attains jewelry, furs, Paris, a maid, and a chauffeured car. When he gets in trouble at his company, she refuses to sell her jewels to save him. Stanwyck, her blond hair ironed flat, sets her lower lip in defiance, and says, “I can’t do it. I’ve got to think of myself. I’ve gone through a lot to get those things.” In the end, however, Lily redeems herself, keeps her man, and emerges if not rich then, at least, happy.

That’s the original conclusion of “Baby Face,” which appears in the restored version of the film. But, in 1933, after censors banned the movie in several big cities, Warner Bros., which produced it, did some quick reshooting and forced a punitive ending on Lily, in which she loses everything. At the same time, the studio left the movie’s general aura of corruption—sex for favors and much else—intact. The picture hovers between a celebration of a woman’s will and a dirty joke. Are the attitudes in “Baby Face” realistic or merely cynical? Perhaps they’re both.

The New Yorker, May 2, 2016; Sex And Sexier, David Denby.