She Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby

I never noticed it before, but in the background of the scene at the beginning of the movie where Mildred and Wally are in the bar or restaurant, you can hear a song in the background:

You must have been a beautiful baby
You must have been a wonderful child
When you were only starting to go to kindergarten
I bet you drove the little boys wild.
And when it came to winning blue ribbons
You must have shown the other kids how.
I can see the judges’ eyes as they handed you the prize
You must have made the cutest bow.
You must’ve been a beautiful baby
‘Cause baby look at you now.

Does your mother realize
The stork delivered quite a prize
The day he left you on the family tree?
Does your dad appreciate
That you’re merely supergreat
The miracle of any century?
If they don’t just send them both to me.

You must have been a beautiful baby
You must have been a wonderful child.
When you were only starting to go to kindergarten
I bet you drove the little boys wild.
And when it came to winning blue ribbons
You must have shown the other kids how.
I can see the judges’ eyes as they handed you the prize
You must have made the cutest bow.
You must’ve been a beautiful baby
‘Cause baby look at you now.

You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby was written by Johnny Mercer, who was a hit maker back in his day. Veda must have been a beautiful baby, since her mother couldn’t see what a coloratura soprano she turned out to be. Mildred drove the boys wild – Bert, Wally, Monty – she must have been a beautiful baby too. And look at them now.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to She Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby

  1. Jess says:

    It’s amazing that you caught this! This song definitely set the scene for the movie. I really like how the lyrics are so flexible. They work, as you mentioned, for both Veda and Mildred, which I think is significant because the novel is about their relationship.

    • phb256 says:

      I probably only caught it because I was listening in rather than watching it. I only had the sounds to go by. The song caught my attention because it was in a Looney Tunes cartoon or two, and I’ve watched an awful lot of those.

  2. Jim Groom says:

    Ha, this is a great catch, and all the more kudos to Curtiz for using the medium of film to point to these relationships in all kinds of ways that only the film medium can. It is one thing to describe the songs playing in a novel, it is another to let them be part of the canvas of the scene as they can be in a film, and that is one of the beautiful realities of such a medium. The subtlety of song in the background reinforcing the crucial themes of a narrative is yet another reason why Mildred Pierce is a masterpiece in its own right.

Leave a Reply to phb256 Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.