The movie Pretty Baby, which was released in 1978, has long been a source of curiosity and speculation. Although it is well known as a controversial movie that sparked debates over its themes and subject matter, one question remains unanswered: is Pretty Baby based on a true story? In this article, we explore the facts surrounding the movie’s production to determine whether or not it is rooted in reality.
Is Pretty Baby Based on a True Story?
The 1978 film “Pretty Baby” directed by Louis Malle is based on the true account of a young girl named E.J. Bellocq who lived in New Orleans in the early 1900s. She was sexually exploited by being forced into prostitution by her mother, which was recounted in an article in The Times-Picayune newspaper.
The film depicts the life of a child prostitute named Violet played by Brooke Shields and her relationship with Bellocq played by Keith Carradine. While the movie received critical acclaim for its acting and cinematography, it also garnered controversy for its portrayal of child prostitution.
Some critics argued that the film romanticized and trivialized the issue of child sexual exploitation while others praised it for shedding light on a dark aspect of history. Regardless, “Pretty Baby” remains a thought-provoking film that raises important questions about exploitation, consent, and morality.
Overview of ‘Pretty Baby’
Pretty Baby is a 1978 drama film directed by Louis Malle, which tells the story of a young girl named Violet who lives with her prostitute mother in a brothel in New Orleans during the early 1900s. As she grows up, Violet begins to develop an interest in becoming a prostitute herself and catches the eye of one of the brothel’s regular customers.
While Pretty Baby received critical acclaim for its performances and cinematography, it also generated controversy due to its depiction of underage prostitution and nudity involving Brooke Shields – who was only 12 years old at the time. Despite this controversy, Pretty Baby remains an important work within Louis Malle’s filmography and continues to be studied for its historical context and themes.
Cast of Characters
The cast of characters in this movie includes young actress Brooke Shields, who plays Violet, a 12-year-old child sold to prostitution by her mother. Keith Carradine plays Bellocq, a photographer who takes an interest in Violet and her story.
Other notable characters include Susan Sarandon as Hattie, Violet’s mother and prostitute, who struggles with her conscience over selling her daughter’s body for money. Frances Faye portrays Nell, another prostitute and friend to Hattie.
The movie also features Antonio Fargas as Pussyfoot, a pimp who runs the brothel where Violet works. These characters all play significant roles in telling the story of Pretty Baby and its portrayal of prostitution during this time period. Although controversial upon its release due to its depiction of underage sexuality, Pretty Baby remains an important piece of cinema history for its powerful performances and thought-provoking themes.
Iconic Scenes from ‘Pretty Baby’
One of the most memorable scenes from ‘Pretty Baby’ is when Violet poses for a photographer to capture her first nude photograph. This scene was controversial at the time due to Brooke Shields’ age and how she was portrayed in the film. Another iconic moment from ‘Pretty Baby’ is when Violet’s mother invites customers into their brothel on Mardi Gras day, and one of them turns out to be a man who had previously rejected her services.
Music and Cinematography of “Pretty Baby”
The music and cinematography of “Pretty Baby” are essential elements that complete the experience of watching the movie. Set in New Orleans’ red-light district at the turn of the 20th century, the film follows a young girl named Violet who is raised by her prostitute mother in a brothel. The soundtrack features jazz music from artists such as Jelly Roll Morton and King Oliver, which adds to the authenticity of the era portrayed in the film.
The cinematography also captures the beauty and rawness of New Orleans, with its vibrant colors and unique architecture. Although some criticize “Pretty Baby” for sexualizing a child actor (Brooke Shields) and romanticizing prostitution, others argue that it sheds light on a dark part of history that should not be forgotten. Moreover, it is based on true events that happened during Storyville’s existence, which was once America’s legal red-light district.
Overall, while “Pretty Baby” may be controversial due to its subject matter, there’s no denying that its music and cinematography make it an immersive experience worth exploring.
Controversy Surrounding the Film
Adding to the controversy surrounding Pretty Baby is the question of whether or not it is based on a true story. While no specific real-life events are depicted in the film, Malle drew inspiration from historical accounts of child prostitution in New Orleans during that time period. However, some have argued that this inspiration does not excuse the graphic nature of certain scenes or Shields’ involvement as an underage actress.
Despite its controversy, Pretty Baby received mixed reviews and was nominated for several prestigious awards. It remains a highly debated topic among filmmakers and audiences alike as to whether it should be recognized for its artistry or condemned for its subject matter.
Reasons to Watch the Movie “Pretty Baby”
One reason to watch “Pretty Baby” is its stunning cinematography and direction. The filmmakers recreated New Orleans’ red-light district with great attention to detail, capturing its gritty and seedy atmosphere beautifully. Additionally, Brooke Shields delivers an impressive performance as Violet, portraying both her innocence and naivety as well as her growing awareness of the world around her.
Another reason to watch this movie is for its thought-provoking themes related to sexuality and morality. The film raises questions about society’s attitudes towards prostitution and child sexualization while also exploring Violet’s coming-of-age journey. Overall, “Pretty Baby” offers a compelling and visually striking portrayal of a controversial subject matter that is bound to leave an impression on viewers long after watching it.
How ‘Pretty Baby’ Portrays Social Issues
Director Louis Malle wanted to create a film that would spark conversations about these social issues, particularly child prostitution. Pretty Baby was controversial upon its release because of its explicit portrayal of underage nudity and prostitution. However, it sparked discussions about the sexualization of minors and the exploitation of women in sex work.
Overall, Pretty Baby remains relevant today as it sheds light on social issues that still exist in many parts of the world. It serves as a reminder to society to always protect children from exploitation and abuse while also advocating for laws against prostitution or any form of human trafficking.
Where to Find Pretty Baby
If you want to watch “Pretty Baby”, there are several options available to you. The movie can be rented or purchased through various online platforms such as Amazon Prime Video or iTunes. Additionally, it may be available for streaming on subscription services like Netflix or Hulu.
However, before watching “Pretty Baby”, it’s important to note that the film contains controversial themes and graphic scenes of child nudity and sexual activity. Some viewers may find these aspects disturbing or inappropriate, so consider your own comfort level before deciding whether to watch this movie.