Furs on Film – Baby Face (1933)

Today we look at one of the more famous films I’ve profiled while mostly ignoring everything that made it famous. We will look at (the furs in) the 1933 film Baby Face, starring Barbara Stanwyck. Yes, Miss Stanwyck’s career highlight may not be until 1938, but she was no slouch in the fur-wearing department in the years leading up to it. The film itself is notable as one of the more “infamous” “pre-Code” films and one of the reasons said Code exists.


Barbara Stanwyck in Fox Trimmed Cape - Baby Face 1933

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Baby Face (1933)

Genre: Drama, Romance
Format: Streaming


Baby Face – The Film

Why did said Code exist? Because people couldn’t handle a chick sleeping her way to the top, that’s why. Yes, in this film, Barbara Stanwyck stars as Lily Powers, a woman who knows what she wants and knows how to get it. And get it, she does, always off-screen and totally implied. This was still 1933 when the mere idea of a female sexual predator was enough to give fine, upstanding people tha vapors! Lily climbs the corporate ladder, leaving behind broken boyfriends in a heap along the way until she reaches the president of Gotham Trust and thinks her life of luxury is assured. Things actually work out in the end, but only because the New York State Censorship Board (at least they were really upfront with the name) strongly implied the film would never see the light of day if she didn’t.

Baby Face – The Furs

Unlike the scorecard required to keep track of The Mad Miss Manton, this film is almost all Stanwyck all the time. After all, Lily doesn’t sleep her way to the top to dress like a hobo. She’s stuffing the closet with furs and presumably other expensive clothes and jewelry, which I care much less about. Really, shiny rocks? What’s up with that?

Obviously, Lily has made it a few floors out of the basement of Gotham Trust by the time she walks on screen in this thickly trimmed cape and muff combo.

Barbara Stanwyck in Fox Trimmed Cape - Baby Face 1933

Along the way, she’s taken her friend, Chico (yes, I said Chico), played by Theresa Harris, and kept her on as a rather well-paid maid, as you can tell from the muff and stole.

Barbara Stanwyck in Fox Trimmed Cape - Baby Face 1933

This is a fairly long sequence leading to a meeting with one of her mid-range boyfriends. We get to enjoy the cape from all angles.

Barbara Stanwyck in Fox Trimmed Cape - Baby Face 1933

This is the boyfriend du jour; things don’t work out well for him. Granted, this can be said of pretty much all of them.

Barbara Stanwyck in Fox Trimmed Cape - Baby Face 1933

Later, and further up the food chain, Lily is in Paris and hooks up with the new bank president. She had now mounted the top rung of the corporate ladder… so to speak. Here Barbara Stanwyck lounges, face wreathed by , an object of raw cinematic desire.

Barbara Stanwyck in Silver Fox Fur - Baby Face 1933

We see a bit more of it before this shorter sequence ends, revealing the collar to be even larger than previously seen.

Barbara Stanwyck in Silver Fox Fur - Baby Face 1933

As you may imagine, things aren’t quite wine and roses from that point on, and the bank president has some problems of his own, some of which have to do with the fact that his new girlfriend is kinda a tramp. In a lengthy sequence at the end of the film, Lily wears this full-length the entire time.

Barbara Stanwyck in a Chinchilla Fur Coat - Baby Face 1933

Barbara Stanwyck has a brief smoking shot while wearing the big .

Barbara Stanwyck smoking in a Chinchilla Fur Coat - Baby Face 1933

This is a hefty chinchilla, judging by the size of the collar, which wraps around the back, almost as if it were an unused hood.

Barbara Stanwyck in a Chinchilla Fur Coat - Baby Face 1933

Sadly, Lily’s main squeeze bank president meets an untimely end, and the results of all her dirty machinations crash down around her.

Barbara Stanwyck in a Chinchilla Fur Coat - Baby Face 1933

But wait! There’s more! He really doesn’t die, and it turns out Lily renounces her man-hating ways and decides to settle down and live happily ever after with him!

Barbara Stanwyck in a Chinchilla Fur Coat - Baby Face 1933

On the one hand, the tacked-on ending designed to get past the New York State Censorship Board is pretty much a substantial betrayal of everything the film was to that point. On the other hand, there’s another full minute of Barbara Stanwyck in a full-length chinchilla coat… So, I’m calling it even.

Barbara Stanwyck in a Chinchilla Fur Coat - Baby Face 1933

Baby Face joins a strong second tier of Stanwyck films with great furs. While not everything she did is worthy of inclusion on its own, this one and a few others are, such as Breakfast for Two and Lady of Burlesque. The ratio is fairly solid, a good 8 minutes of fur in a film that ran a little long for the time and was from the early ’30s as well. The film was Warner Bros.’s response to the film Red-Headed Woman, starring Jean Harlow and also notable for the fur fashions within.

Fur Runtime: approx 8 minutes
Film Runtime: 71 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 11%

5 thoughts on “Furs on Film – Baby Face (1933)

  1. I thought the same thing about Lily’s maid when I first watched this film. I know it is from my perspective, but fancy being out done by your maid by letting her wear white fox. I cannot imagine that Lily would have actually provided her with such expensive furs so perhaps the maid had a ‘private income’, if you see what I mean?

  2. They make for a nice pair in that brief shot, though yes, I think Lily should have traded, at least to get the bigger muff.

    We certainly don’t know what Chico is up to off screen, considering how “scandalous” Lily’s off screen behavior was, we can only shudder at the thought, heh.

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