- The Legion of Decency, an organization of the Roman Catholic Church in the US, condemned the film as immoral, and despite the efforts of director Elia Kazan, were able to get it withdrawn from release.
- Tennessee Williams' first choice for the title role of Baby Doll was Marilyn Monroe, (who was straining to improve herself as an actress at the time and wanted the role badly), although director Kazan preferred newcomer Carroll Baker, whose work he was familiar with from the Actors' Studio in New York.
- When the film was released in 1956, it was enormously controversial for its extremely risque subject matter. The Legion of Decency condemned the film for its "carnal suggestiveness". Francis Cardinal Spellman condemned the film in a stunning attack from the pulpit of St. Patrick's Cathedral two days before the film opened, saying that the film had been "responsibly judged to be evil in concept" and was certain that it would "exert an immoral and corrupting influence on those who see it", and exhorted all Catholics to refrain from patronizing the film "under pain of sin". Cardinal Spellman's condemnation of the film led to the Legion of Decency's first-ever nationwide boycott of an American-made film produced by a major studio. All over the country, almost 20 million Catholics protested the film and picketed theaters that showed the film. The Catholic boycott nearly killed the film; it was cancelled by 77% of theaters scheduled to show it, and it only made a meager $600,000 at the box office. The film was also condemned by Time Magazine, who called it the dirtiest American-made motion picture that had ever been legally exhibited. Surprisingly, the film's sordid elements, the Production Code Administration gave the film a seal of approval, but after nearly a year of arguments. This was one of many examples of how the lax attitude of the new Code official Geoffrey Shurlock, the successor of the PCA to the strict Catholic militant Joseph Breen, would lead to a schism with the Legon of Decency and the PCA's own downfall over the next few years. After "Baby Doll", the PCA drifted farther and farther away from its traditional guidelines until it was replaced by the MPAA ratings system in 1968.
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