6.6/10
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77 user 33 critic

Pretty Baby (1978)

R | | Drama | 5 April 1978 (USA)
A teenage girl lives as a prostitute in New Orleans in 1917.

Director:

Louis Malle

Writers:

Polly Platt (story), Polly Platt (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
1,850 ( 51)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Brooke Shields ... Violet
Keith Carradine ... Bellocq
Susan Sarandon ... Hattie
Frances Faye ... Nell
Antonio Fargas ... Professor
Matthew Anton Matthew Anton ... Red Top
Diana Scarwid ... Frieda
Barbara Steele ... Josephine
Seret Scott Seret Scott ... Flora
Cheryl Markowitz Cheryl Markowitz ... Gussie
Susan Manskey Susan Manskey ... Fanny
Laura Zimmerman Laura Zimmerman ... Agnes
Miz Mary Miz Mary ... Odette
Gerrit Graham ... Highpockets
Mae Mercer Mae Mercer ... Mama Mosebery
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Storyline

In 1917, in the red light district Storyville, New Orleans, the prostitute Hattie lives with her twelve year-old daughter Violet in the fancy brothel of Madame Nell, where she works. Photographer Ernest J. Bellocq has an attraction to Hallie and Violet and he is an habitué of the whorehouse. One day, Madame Nell auctions Violet's virginity and the winner pays the fortune of US$ 400 to spend the night with the girl. Then Hattie marries a wealthy client and moves to Saint Louis, leaving Violet in the brothel alone. Violet decides to marry Bellocq and she moves to his house. Until the day that Hattie, who has overcome her past, comes to Bellocq's house with the intention to take Violet with her. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

In 1917, in the red-light district of New Orleans, they called her "Pretty Baby" See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 April 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Pretty Baby See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$5,786,368

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$5,786,368
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Rob Reiner auditioned for the role of Bellocq. See more »

Goofs

When Bellocq is posing Hattie on the chaise lounge, the boom mic dips into the screen above them. See more »

Quotes

Violet: You think of me as a child.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The closing credits include a card that states, "With our gratitude for the priceless music of FERDINAND "JELLY ROLL" MORTON." See more »

Alternate Versions

Against his own wishes UK censor James Ferman was forced to make minor edits to the original cinema version under the 1978 Protection of Children Act, and pubic hair was optically airbrushed onto a scene where Brooke Shields is sitting with her legs slightly spread so that 'the actual cleft was not visible'. A further cut was also made to remove a very brief shot of her standing up in a bath. The edits were fully waived for the 1987 video release. See more »

Connections

Featured in Casting By (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Big Lip Blues
(uncredited)
Written by Ferdinand 'Jelly Roll' Morton
Played while everyone is waiting downstairs for Violet
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Film about Lost Innocence, best viewed through "Innocent Eyes"
6 July 2011 | by FrankDamageSee all my reviews

This now infamous film, directed by Louis Malle, is without a doubt one that may shock and disturb many who view it. Even more so now than by the 1978 social standards when it was released. However, those who will not succumb to the possible knee-jerk and reactionary "puritanical outrage" that some of the imagery might invoke and can understand how it significantly contributes to the story itself, will come to witness an interesting and beautifully toned glimpse into the final days of legal prostitution within the red light district of pre 1920s New Orleans.

A young Brooke Shields delivers a convincing, yet subtle and sincere performance as Violet, the underage prostitute whom the story centers around. Keith Carradine's loose portrayal of famed Louisiana photographer E. J. Bellocq (who was an actual photographer of the time that captured images of the prostitutes in this particular district) was an excellent incorporation into the storyline and adds a certain sense of credibility to the film, in relation to it being set within the particular era.

The additional acting talents of Susan Sarandon and Antonio Fargas also do well in bringing this tale, based on the true accounts of a young New Orleans prostitute who worked in the actual Storyville district, to life.

It's so authentic in it's "flavor" in fact that it won the "Technical Grand Prize" at the 1978 Cannes Film Festival.

This sad and true to life film guides us through not only a more primitive time in American history; one when many children (not only those subject to lives of prostitution) failed to even have the option of any childhood at all, but through the eyes of innocence and all the love and beauty and memories that those eyes found even within what many would only see as the most unforgivable of environments for innocence, or even hope.

It's through THOSE eyes one must look to see the true beauty and love that went into the crafting of this historically memorable film.


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