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Press Release Warner Archive Press Release: Baby Doll (1956) (Blu-ray) (1 Viewer)

Bob Cashill

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Splendor in the Grass is via William Inge, not Williams, but it, too, would be good to have.

I’ve always loved Baby Doll, which is ultimately about the two foolish men and not the unexpectedly bright woman they’re pawing at. My wife and I watched the excellent DVD box set of Williams adaptations and it was our favorite, exactly the funny, raunchy, confounding movie they set out to make.
 

lark144

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Feb 22, 2012
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mark gross
Splendor in the Grass is via William Inge, not Williams, but it, too, would be good to have.

I’ve always loved Baby Doll, which is ultimately about the two foolish men and not the unexpectedly bright woman they’re pawing at. My wife and I watched the excellent DVD box set of Williams adaptations and it was our favorite, exactly the funny, raunchy, confounding movie they set out to make.
The problem I have with "Baby Doll" is the class bias. I don't find it funny because it's an upper-class person making fun of people who are worse off than he is, and refusing in any way, very atypical for Williams, to see them as three-dimensional or worthy of empathy or understanding. It's cruel, not amusing. Yes, they're not very bright, but that foolishness seems to be a product of their lower class agraian status. I find it extremely condescending. And all the characters are completely one dimensional. It's not funny, because not only do they never learn, but they have no concept of change or understanding. They're country bumpkins, shapelessly stereotyped. Unlike many Williams scripts, there's not one moment of human emotion, or realization. He was clearly trying to do "Tobacco Road" but Lester Jeeter is a much more nuanced character, aware of his shortcomings and of the dead-end of his economic and social situation in a way the characters in "Baby Doll" are not. Jeeter Lester has the potential for change. The characters in "Baby Doll" don't because they're less than human. This isn't parody but ridicule.
 

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