Baby Doll & Tiger Tail: A screenplay and play by Tennessee Williams
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A taut, vivid drama of a voluptuous child-bridge who refuses to consummate her marriage to an older, down-on-his-luck cotton-gin owner.
In 1956, Time magazine called Tennessee Williams’ Baby Doll "just possibly the dirtiest American-made motion picture that has ever been legally exhibited." The taut, vivid drama of a voluptuous child-bridge, who refuses to consummate her marriage to an older, down-on-his-luck cotton-gin owner in Tiger Tail County, Mississippi until she is "ready," has gained in humor and pathos over the years as society has caught up with the author’s savagely honest view of bigotry and lust in the rural South. But Tennessee Williams was first and foremost a writer for the stage, and this reissue of his original screenplay for the Elia Kazan movie of Baby Doll is now accompanied by the script of the full-length stage play, Tiger Tail, developed from that screenplay during the ’70s. The text, which incorporates the author’s final revisions, records the play as it was produced at the Hippodrome Theatre Workshop in Gainesville, Florida, in 1979.
in. What’s this here?? [He has seized her wrist on which hangs a bracelet of many little gold charms. She sinks somewhat uneasily in beside him.] BABY DOLL: It’s a, it’s a. . . charm bracelet. [He begins to finger the many little gold charms attached.] BABY DOLL: My daddy gave it to me. Them there’s the ten commandments. SILVA: And these? BABY DOLL: My birthdays. It’s stretchable. One for each birthday. SILVA: How many charming birthdays have you had? BABY DOLL: As many as I got charms
it made big crazy shadows and we didn’t have a coke in the house and the heat and the mosquitoes and—I was mad at Archie Lee. SILVA: Mad at Mr. Meighan? What about? BABY DOLL: Oh, he went off and left me settin’ here without a coke in the place. SILVA: Went off and left you, did he??!! BABY DOLL: Well, he certainly did. Right after supper and when he got back, the fire’d already broke out. I got smoke in my eyes and my nose and throat. I was in such a wornout nervous condition it made me cry.
don’t you unlock the door so I can come to your rescue? BABY DOLL: I—can’t because. . . SILVA: Huh? Huh? BABY DOLL [whisper]: YOU. [Vacarro shoves door just a little with his shoulder. The bolt is not strong.] You. . . so! Scare me! SILVA: Scared of me?? BABY DOLL: Yeah, scared of you and your—whip. SILVA: Why’re you scared of my whip? Huh? Do you think I might whip you? Huh? Scared I might whip you with it and [He slaps his boots regularly with the riding crop.] leave red marks on
of! SILVA: That is surprisingly good news. ARCHIE: Surprising how? SILVA: I didn’t think I’d noticed much activity at the Meighan gin lately. ARCHIE: I reckon you been absorbed too much in affairs of your own to notice mine. SILVA: Well, now I’ll have more chance to notice, won’t I? [He is looking at Baby Doll who fans herself a bit self-consciously with a movie mag. She emits an enormous yawn.] BABY DOLL: Excuse my yawn. We went to bed kinda late last night. [Silva and Archie both notice
to a whole lot of risk an’ trouble to get my business back. Now don’t you want it? It’s up to you, Meighan, it’s— ARCHIE: COOL! Yeah, cool, very cool! SILVA: The heat of the fire’s died down. . . ARCHIE: UH HUH! YOU’VE FIXED YOUR WAGON! WITH THIS SMART TALK, YOU JUST NOW FIXED YOUR WAGON! I’M GONNA MAKE A PHONE CALL THAT’LL WIPE THE GRIN OFF YOUR GREASY WOP FACE FOR GOOD! [He charges into the hall and seizes the phone.] SILVA [crossing to Baby Doll at the kitchen sink]: Is my wop face