Disclosure: I wanna apologize right from the being if you get the feeling I am being highly emotional. I just started my period … and well … my emotions get the best of me. Everything tends to overwhelm me.
Have you ever heard of this movie?
The movie came out in 1956 and at the time it was very controversial. It basically is about two Southern cotton gin rivals and a sensuous 19-year-old.
There was really no one I recognized in the movie… obviously since I wasn’t born yet. The only person I do recognize now that I think about it is Karl Malden though I can’t say from where.
Karl plays cotton gin owner Archie. Archie is married to “Baby Doll” his 19-year-old wife.
As soon as the movie starts, you see Archie is supervising some remodeling to his extremely run down house. Extremely run down. Ok, so it’s a piece of shit. He goes into his house and into a room where there is somewhat of a hole in the wall. He peeks through and watches his wife sleep.
Yes…she sleeps sucking her thumb in a day bed in the room called the nursery.
That’s like the most fucking weird thing I have seen today.
His watching startles her and she wakes. You learn right away that they are married by law but they have not consummated the marriage. He has agreed to wait til she is 20 years old and her birthday is actually two days away.
As you watch them react with each other, you see that “Baby Doll” is very demanding and actually quite spoiled. She came from a family of wealth and was married to Archie on the promise that he would provide her financial security. He has not due to a rival who has taken complete control over the cotton in the area.
You also learn that Archie has no balls. He lets the girl walk all over him. As the movie plays out, you see what a nervous wreak he is. His business is living him broke, and he ain’t getting any ass. He is slowly losing his mind.
When he and his “Baby Doll” go into town, you notice how everyone eyes the girl. She really works the whole “Baby Doll” act in a very sensual way. People also laugh behind Archie’s back; they are all aware of his situation.
All of the cotton fields are now working with the Syndicate Gin run by a Sicilian, Silva Vaccaro. Vaccaro has put many local business owners out of work with his large operation.
As Archie and Baby Doll are going home they see the Furniture company heading to their house to remove their furniture from their home. She runs screaming down the road after them embarrassing Archie.
Once they get and their furniture is removed, Baby Doll angrily threatens Archie she is going to leave him. He has failed to provide for her. He is so stressed out by his bride, his business going under, and the lack of respect he does not get, he leaves the house and heads back into town. During a party in honor of the Syndicate Gin, Archie burns the gin house to the ground. When the local authorities refuse to pursue an investigation because Vaccaro is an outsider, Vaccaro vows to take matters into his own hands. He realizes that Archie was the only person not at the party and determines to prove his guilt.
Clearly, Archie is desperate.
The following day Vaccaro takes his cotton to Archie Lee to have it ginned. While Archie tries to get his antiquated machinery working, Vaccaro flirts with Baby Doll. Throughout the movie, I am very annoyed with Baby Doll. She is a brat, a pampered spoiled brat. She is also very naive.
To some, this movie might be considered tame. There is no nudity, sadly, but this next scene with Vaccaro and Baby Doll is very intense.
As he talks to her, he is gets really close. He tells her is aware that her husband burnt down his gin. He plays with her invading her personal space and getting rather close to her. Vaccaro is very smooth and cunning. And you can feel the sexuality of the moment. She is uncomfortable but doesn’t move.
His expression and boldness excites her in a way that she doesn’t understand.
She finally gets away from him and says, ” I feel so weak. My head is buzzy… Fuzzy and buzzy.”
If you don’t feel as she does in this exact moment, you are dead. Seriously check your pulse.
She becomes afraid and runs to her husband for protection and to warn him of Vaccaro but Archie who is frustrated at the moment slaps her and yells at her.
She goes back to the house and Vaccaro begins to play games with Baby Doll first scarring her and finally getting her to admit that her husband did in fact start the fire. Baby Doll believes the plantation house is haunted. Vaccaro playfully uses this to “scare” Baby Doll and eventually get her to lower her guard. They play hide and seek, and Baby Doll hides in the attic. The floorboards are dangerously loose. Vaccaro, now forceful and angry, tells Baby Doll that she can’t come out of the attic until she agrees to sign his handwritten “affidavit” that Archie Lee burned down the gin house. Baby Doll signs it. Vaccaro lets her out and prepares to leave. After the near death experience, she has grown fond of him and asks him not to leave. Baby Doll persuades him to stay and take a nap with her in the crib, one of the few pieces of furniture left in the house.
When Archie comes home, he finds that Vaccaro and his wife have gotten chummy. No actual sex but she finally wants to do it with someone!!!
Archie is angered and embarrassed to discover that Vaccaro has begun to take over his business. These emotions are only amplified when he discovers Baby Doll lounging around the house with Vaccaro, only in her slip.
For the main hot dish in the movie, she doesn’t have much of a body. I guess cause she is a “virgin” …blah blah blah.
Baby Doll suggests that Vaccaro is interested in becoming partners with Archie and suggests they discuss it over dinner. When Archie sneaks away to make a phone call to friends in hopes they will come over to hia house and help him deal with Vaccaro, Baby Doll kisses Vaccaro. Over dinner, she and Vaccaro taunt Archie about his poor luck and flirt openly. When Archie tries to take his anger out on Aunt Rose (the cook) by threatening to evict her from the house, Vaccaro offers to hire her as his cook.
Humiliated, Archie loads his shotgun to kill Vaccaro. While Baby Doll calls the police, Vaccaro hides in a tree. Drunk, Archie wanders the house and front yard looking for Vaccaro but can’t find him. When the police arrive, they disarm Archie ; when Vaccaro shows them the affidavit signed by Baby Doll, they arrest Archie as well. Baby Doll hopes Vaccaro will stay with her but he is more interested in ensuring his cotton is processed and goes home. Resigned, Baby Doll leads Aunt Rose back into the plantation house, telling her they will have to see what tomorrow brings.
I actually liked the last line.
Baby Doll says to her Aunt, “Well, let’s go in now. We got nothing to do but wait for tomorrow and see if we’re remembered or forgotten.”
As soon as this movie started, I was immediately waiting to make fun of it. The thought of a girl sucking he thumb was crazy to me. Yet the more I watched this movie, the more I began to feel sorry for Archie. He couldn’t speak up and take charge. And that was his biggest fault.
I saw myself in his character. Sometimes during desperate times you take desperate measures even if they are wrong or make a fool out of you. He never caught a break and picked the wrong girl. I wonder if any us will admit to taking desperate measures like this. No not burning down a gin house but what would you do to keep the one you love? What would you do when you have been mocked repeatedly or felt so underappreciated?
In the movie Hancock there are scenes where one word pushes the character of the edge. Mine is crazy. When I am trying to explain myself so hard and it’s not coming out, the worst thing to tell me is calm down or your crazy. I completely lose it. I start thinking… Oh you wanna see crazy? I’ll show you cra cra!
When I think back at these times I think whoa… why did I lose it? Why did I get so overwhelmed in emotion? It’s because no one is listening to me. And I just wanna scream. Feeling unheard is the worst. So is being ignored.
I totally understood Archie. He was immensely desperate but he was scrapping for a happiness that just wouldn’t exist. That’s sad. There was no actual enemy in this movie. There was no direct villian. Archie was his own worst enemy.
I thought the actors and actresses in the movies were awesome. Seriously the acting was great. I don’t think I have ever said that. Remember its an old movie so scenes are up to par with lightning and sound. In fact I had a fair share of laughter on the goofs but all in all I totally understand why it won awards.
I was actually impressed with this movie.
But I did learn something…
My daughter Si needs to stop sucking her thumb… like now!