Baby Love

1969

Drama

0
IMDb Rating 5.8 10 402

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN

Director

Cast

Keith Barron as Doctor Robert / Amy's husband
Bruce Robinson as Man in Nightclub
Diana Dors as Liz / Luci's Mother
Vernon Dobtcheff as Man in Cinema

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by BA_Harrison 8 / 10

Linda the Lolita.

After her impoverished, cancer-ridden mother (Diana Dors) commits suicide, schoolgirl Luci (Linda Hayden) is adopted by her mother's ex-lover Robert (Keith Barron), now a wealthy, married doctor living the high-life in London. Once in her new home, the deeply-disturbed girl gradually spirals out of control, teasing teenage son Nick (Derek Lamden), flirting with sleazy family friend Harry (comedian Dick Emery), allowing herself to get felt up in a cinema, taunting local lads by the river (and risking being raped for her trouble), whilst driving a wedge between her adoptive parents by awakening latent lesbian urges in her new mother! Phew!

I found out about Baby Love while searching for films starring my favourite Hammer horror babe, the lovely Linda Hayden, and, boy, is it an eye-opener, the film undoubtedly exploiting the 15-year-old actress's burgeoning sexuality for all its worth, even having her stripping off for the part. But Baby Love is so much more than an opportunity to ogle jail-bait Linda in the altogether: part kitchen-sink drama, part psychological study, it's a skilfully told and ultimately tragic tale of an emotionally damaged, self-destructive soul who, due to her troubled upbringing, is unable to relate to kindness, instead exerting control the only way she knows how—through seduction; in doing so, she tears apart the already fractured lives of those who have tried to help her.

Made in the late 60s, when movies deliberately challenged the establishment, Baby Love is about as subversive as it gets—a controversial piece of film-making that dares to push the boundaries in all directions, while deliberately making the audience feel just a little uneasy about what they are watching. As such, I found it extremely compelling viewing, and highly recommend it to fans of intelligent, provocative drama, as well as to those who find the idea of Linda Hayden as a naughty nymphet simply too tempting to resist.

7.5 out of 10, rounded up to 8 for IMDb.

Reviewed by jaibo 8 / 10

Pushing the Evelope Then, and Now

This is a rarely seen and unjustly neglected gem from the "swinging London" period of British film-making. It's subject matter – a nubile, underage teenage girl is adopted by a middle class family and becomes the erotic focus of father, son and mother – was certainly ahead of its time, and its amoral stance towards this material make it even more surprising. It was cut by the BBFC for its original UK cinema release (it is surprising it was granted a certificate at all) and its unflinching approach to its underage protagonist's sexual allure and responsiveness would get it into as much if not more trouble with the moral guardians of today.

The film begins with cross cutting Hayden's character Luci kissing a boy in front of a gaggle of her male and female schoolmates with the suicide of her mother (a debauched and distressing Diana Dors) in a hot bath with a razor. With her mother dead, Luci goes to live with her Mum's old flame Robert, played by Keith Barron, now a wealthy and successful London doctor. Luci's presence inflames both the teenage son of the doctor and his neglected wife, both of whom attempt to take advantage of Luci's disturbed state of mind (she is having nightmares and hallucinations featuring her dead mother) and Robert himself is also susceptible to the young nymphet's charms. But Luci is no innocent - she seems to know that sex is power and she plays the game for what its worth, hanging onto her position in the house through sheer female will and exploiting the desires of each member of the family when it suits her.

This portrait of Luci as colluding with those who would pray on her is troubling, but psychologically acute. Luci is both powerless, disturbed and the off-spring of a Mother who clearly (we learn in flashbacks) was no sexual wallflower. Luci is very much the product of her background, one of financial and emotional poverty, and so is rather more sympathetic than the spoilt middle-class folk whose fantasy figure of attraction and repulsion she is forced by circumstance to be. The film ostensibly looks like one of those dramas in which a cuckoo comes in to disturb a nest, but in actuality the middle-class family was always already deeply divided and she but acts as a catalyst which brings the ruptures to the surface. There is a suggestion that Luci has been sexualised before we meet her – her mother's burly lover hangs around her house both before and after the suicide & the cruel laughter from mother and lover in the flashback where Luci catches them at it suggests that he was also involved with Luci, the mother rubbing her sexual competitiveness with her daughter in the poor child's face. This reading of the film makes sense of those moments where Luci responds to improper, aggressive advances in inappropriate situations – the black man in the nightclub, the groper in the cinema, the louts in the rowboat. She also flirts heavily with Robert's friend, a depressing old lecher played by Dick Emery who acts as a sort of Clare Quilty figure, embodying Robert's worst knowledge about himself.

Baby Love is brilliantly put together, using a roaming camera which constantly prowls around the characters hoping to catch them as some sordid thing and fast editing offering us glimpses of impressionist moments from each situation. It seems extraordinary that the film was made over 40 years ago – it makes most teenage drama now look like punch-pulling chicken feed.

Reviewed by andrabem-1 9 / 10

Luci in the earth without diamonds

Most of the films about "Swinging London' celebrated the joys and colors of the time. "Baby Love", while it was made during the heyday of "Swinging London", deals with the story of an adolescent girl called Luci, and London serves just a background for Luci and the other characters around her. The characters and their environment are portrayed with a documentary feel - they are shown in a realistic way.

Luci, one day, on returning home, finds her mother dead. A great shock! For Luci there are not many choices. Her future looms black. But her mother, before killing herself, had sent a letter to a doctor who in the past had been her lover, and where she asks him to take care of her daughter Luci. The doctor is now a married man with wife, son and maid - in short, a well-off family.

The doctor brings Luci (Linda Hayden, who was only 15 at the time) to his home. At first she seems just a bewildered, shy girl, but it won't take long till they discover other sides of Luci's personality.

Luci needs love and protection, and for her, love and sex are not very apart. She is manipulative (but not consciously so), yet she acts by instinct - she's a bundle of contradictions, a very complex character. She'll use her powers of seduction on all members of the family, everything is turned upside down and masks fall.

In some ways, "Baby Love" reminded me of "Teorema" by Pasolini, but while "Teorema" is a mystical-political parable, "Baby Love" has her feet on the ground.

The creativity linked to reality, the freedom of the camera, Luci's sensuality/sexuality (there are even some bits of nudity), the nonjudgemental way of showing the characters, make "Baby Love" a very interesting film. It's a pity though that (as far as I know) the only available copies have soft (a bit washed out) colors. Anyway the film is very watchable. Well worth checking out.

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