Skip to Main Content

AFI Silver Classic Film Weekend: BABY FACE + Introduction by film historian Kim Luperi

Category:  Event Calendar

Date and Time for this Past Event


visit website

Event Category



"Pre-Code: Sex and Censorship" electrifies the first AFI Silver Classic Film Weekend. Immerse yourself in the thrilling era of pre-Code cinema, a fleeting moment from the late 1920s to 1934 when films defied convention before the Hays Code stifled Hollywood's boldness. These movies, lighthearted or dramatic, showcased complex women and flawed heroes struggling against social injustice, and unflinching explorations of sex, ambition and crime. Witness legendary stars ignite the screen: Clara Bow, James Cagney, Barbara Stanwyck, Cary Grant, Jean Harlow, Joan Blondell, Spencer Tracy, Warren William, Anna May Wong and Josephine Baker. Festival guests, including film historians Richard Koszarski, Steven C. Smith, Farran Smith Nehme, Katie Gee Salisbury and David Stenn, will introduce each film.

Introduction by Film Historian Kim Luperi

"In four fabulous years before a strict Motion Picture Code put the cap on audacity, Warner Bros. produced a gallery of rude, saucy films. No actor was as tough as Barbara Stanwyck, and none used womanly wiles with an intelligence so cool and cutting. In this invigorating film, Stanwyck escapes to New York from an Erie, PA, speakeasy where her father rented her out to customers. In a big-city bank, she sleeps her way to the top, leaving a heap of discarded men (and one or two corpses). Even in a version pruned for the New York state censors, BABY FACE was the definitive pre-Code statement about how the Depression created a new morality of no morality. Now the missing five minutes have been restored, and we see how the movie snarled every bit as brazenly as Stanwyck did."