Screen legend Carroll Baker (Giant, How the West Was Won, The Big Country) joins us for a Retro screening of her classic film Baby Doll (1956), directed by Elia Kazan and co-starring Karl Malden and Eli Wallach. Ms. Baker and film historian and RiverRun Advisory Board member Foster Hirsch will have an on-stage conversation about the film and its production. Ms. Baker has recently published a mystery novel, Who Killed Big Al?, and copies will available for purchase and signing at a reception following the screening.
Baby Doll was produced by Elia Kazan and Tennessee Williams and the screenplay was adapted by Williams from his play, 27 Wagons Full of Cotton. Due to what was deemed the sexual explicitness of the story (for the time), the film was condemned by the Catholic Legion of Decency and Cardinal Francis J. Spellman, the Catholic Archbishop of New York, denounced the film from the pulpit of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, calling it “sinful” and forbidding Catholics in the archdiocese to see it.
Many critics praised the film. Variety noted, Kazan “probably here turns in his greatest directing job to date” and lauded the “superb performances,” concluding that the film “ranks as a major screen achievement and deserves to be recognized as such.” However, Time magazine called Baby Doll “just possibly the dirtiest American-made motion picture that has ever been legally exhibited.”
RiverRun Retro is sponsored by Nelson Mullins.
Title sponsors of the RiverRun International Film Festival are the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, Reynolds American and UNCSA.