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
Elia Kazan hired identical twin brothers Richard Sylbert and Paul Sylbert (born April 16, 1928) as his scenic designers and art directors. They shared the film's art director credit. The Sylbert twins had primarily been working in NYC live television as IATSE #829 scenic designers and set decorators. They had Kazan hire their fellow New York City CBS television studio set decorator Gene Callahan, who joined Kazan and the Sylbert twins in Benoit, MS, to scout locations and prep the film's primary plantation house location. Consulting and working with Kazan, Gene and the Sylbert twins shared their film designing duties. Originally from Louisiana, Callahan seemed the perfect choice to decorate the squalid, run-down plantation house interiors and plantation site exteriors. He found the "baby doll" iron bed in a local antique shop, which became a featured prop in the film's set and playbill advertisements. The Sylbert twins and Callahan were always on the set with Kazan and his cinematographer, during cast/camera rehearsal blocking shot, subsequent filming, on every set up. This was a natural condition to a television art department team, being a part of the cast and crew rehearsal and filming schedule, day and night. When not with the film crew, they would be preparing the next scene/film shot for the company move. Upon completion of the Mississippi filming, Callahan took the "iron baby doll bed" back with him to New York City, placing it in his spacious and large West Side apartment's living room, a conversation piece! Kazan relied on Callahan's Southern upbringing and scene interpretation in his rehearsals and scene motivation. This professional film relationship and experience secured the Sylberts' and Callahan's future alliance with Kazan's creative film assignments. Kazan took Callahan to Istanbul (Turkey) and Athens (Greece) as his production designer for America America (1963). Callahan won the 1963 Academy Award for Best Art Direction Black-and-White for his painstakingly accurate scenic set designs. See more »
The way the old guy holds the pizza slice changes. See more »
Archie Lee Meighan:
You just fixed your wagon - with the smart talk. Oh, you just fixed your wagon. I'm gonna wipe that grin off your greasy wop face for good! Oh,
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The crumbling ruins of a deep south plantation, circa 1956. Karl Malden running through empty rooms, yelling "BayBee DOLLLLL!" The dementia-ridden elderly aunt forgetting to turn on the stove before cooking the greens. The old guys lounging around the yard, laughing and watching Malden's frenzied activities like it's must-see TV. Kooky gorgeous Baby Doll sucking her thumb, sleeping in her crib. And Eli Wallach: ah, what a specimen. He's intense, he's irresistible. He's relentlessly "handsy" like a high school boy on a date; he never, ever, for a moment, lets up. It's impossible to take your eyes off of him.
This movie is perplexing and wonderful, it really is more of a place and an atmosphere than a story. Twisted, and in a good way. The characters are as wild and inexplicable as any you've seen in a David Lynch movie. Your jaw will drop, you'll laugh out loud, and the whole weird place just gets better each time you watch it.
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