Baby Face (1933): Stanwyck Star Vehicle with John Wayne in Minor Role

“Baby Face,” one of John Wayne’s early films, in which he plays a minor role, was actually designed as a vehicle for Barbara Stanwyck, who was a much bigger name then the Duke.

In this classic story of upward mobility, tuned to the Depression era and benefiting from the pre-Code times, Santwyck plays the daughter of a disreputable speakeasy owner, who decides to find her own way to success by using her sex appeal as a tool.

For a change, it’s the aggregate of males who are used as stepping-stones by a strong, determined, and ambitious woman who refuses to accept passively “her place” in society. Among the men used and abused are department store managers, bank presidents, and government officers.

Directed in a functional manner by Alfred E. Green, “Baby Face” is written by Mark Canfield, with dialogue provided by Gene Markey and Kathryn Scola. The film’s secondary cast includes George Brent, Donald Cook, and Margaret Lindsay.

Dressed in a suit, Wayne is cast in a bit part, as Jimmy McCoy, but he gets a close-up with Stanwyck.


Running time: 76 minutes
Release date: June 24, 1933

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