6.6/10
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73 user 28 critic

Pretty Baby (1978)

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

Director:

Writers:

(story), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
2,391 ( 1,390)

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ON DISC
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Matthew Anton ...
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Seret Scott ...
Cheryl Markowitz ...
Susan Manskey ...
Fanny
Laura Zimmerman ...
Agnes
Miz Mary ...
Odette
...
Highpockets
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:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 April 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Niña bonita  »

Box Office

Gross:

$5,786,368 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Susan Sarandon provided a g-string for Brooke Shields so she would not have to be totally nude. See more »

Goofs

Violet, distraught and crying, approaches a door and repeatedly bangs on it. No sound other than Violet weeping (itself obviously dubbed) can be heard. See more »

Quotes

Violet: Madame Nell says there's something wrong with you, that you're a cream puff or something. She says you're pathetic, missing all the fun in life.
Bellocq: Perhaps Madame Nell is imagining she knows more than she does. Do you think she's having fun?
Violet: She's as happy as anybody. Are the afraid you'll get the little casino? The clap?
Bellocq: No.
Violet: Well, why, then?
Bellocq: Do I ask you questions? I don't have to explain myself to a child.
Violet: I am not 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 »

Connections

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Michael Palin/Eugene Record (1978) See more »

Soundtracks

Swipesy
(uncredited)
Music by Scott Joplin and Arthur Marshall
Played at the dinner before the auction
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User Reviews

 
intentionally disturbing
1 February 2005 | by (Mojave Desert, California) – See all my reviews

I think it was a fine piece of film making about a horrific situation. I agree with a previous poster that its understated tone was one of its strengths. The film maker presents a detailed, rounded view of the lifestyle and its effects on a girl who is much too young and much too pretty to have been allowed to ply her trade.

One of the ways I judge the strength of a film is the extent to which I wonder "what happens next?" after the closing credits. I would say the film succeeded. From the expression on Violet's face in the closing shot, I think she had been so warped by everything she had seen and done that, no matter what, she would never be able to become a normal woman living a normal life. My fear is that whether she went back to prostitution or lived a presumptively respectable life, she would always be ignorant, impulsive, self-centered and someone who used her appearance to manipulate others. After all, she, like everyone else in the world, can only know what she has been taught.


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