Friday, October 21, 2011

Film | Bringing Up Baby (1938)

On one of my many trips to Barnes and Noble, I picked up two Grant/Hepburn films, Holiday and this film... 1938's Bringing Up Baby. Shortly after that I had a perfect time to watch them... a lazy Sunday with all the windows open to let the cool breeze in, and nothing else to do. I sat down for my 'Grantburn' double-feature and never enjoyed two films more!

"There's a leopard on your roof and it's my leopard and I have to get it and to get it I have to sing."-- Susan Vance [Katharine Hepburn]

Katharine Hepburn as Susan Vance
Cary Grant as Dr. David Huxley (alias Mr. Bone)

Love runs wild for a hapless scientist and an unstoppable heiress in Howard Hawks's classic screwball comedy that ranks high on the American Film Institute's list of the funniest Hollywood films ever made. With her eye on paleontologist David (Cary Grant), heiress Susan (Katharine Hepburn) lures him to her home. But the hilarity begins when Susan's dog steals David's prize dinosaur bone and her pet leopard, Baby, is mistaken for a zoo escapee. [Netflix]

Though this entire movie was hilarious, there were a few scenes where I found myself literally laughing out loud. The scene where Susan is talking to David on the phone trying to persuade him to come help her with her newly acquired leopard was quite funny. Being the graceful walker that she is, Susan trips over a table causing quite a ruckus. David thinks she is being attacked by the leopard (with a little help from Susan's fibbing) and rushes to help her... also tripping in his house.

The other part of the film I still laugh about when I think about it is when Susan and David are in search for the missing leopard. They come to a stream and David asks Susan if the stream is shallow enough to walk through. She insists it is so shallow that they can wade across. So the two set across only to find the water is deeper than they are tall. So funny to watch them fall straight down into the water. Haha!

And we can't forget about the dinner scene where Grant and Hepburn find them selves 'exposed' to everyone in the dining room. Susan grabs for David's jacket, ripping it down the back. After a pretty severe talking to by David for ruining his night, Susan goes to walk away. The only problem is that David was standing on her gown and as she walks away... she leaves without the back of her dress. The funny part comes when David is trying to convince Susan something is wrong, but she doesn't believe him. And when she does realize all of her assets are on display, it gets even better!

Bringing Up Baby did so poorly at the box-office that Howard Hawks was fired from his next RKO production and Katharine Hepburn was bought out of her contract and was soon after labeled 'box-office poison.' I simply do not understand how this film did so badly, it is one of the funniest films I have ever seen. Luckily it has grown into more favorable views since it was released in 1938. The American Film Institute even added this film to its list of the 100 Greatest American Films of All Time.

I thought Katharine Hepburn was hysterical in this picture, I was surprised to find out she came into this role with no comedic background. She was trained by Howard Hawks on her timing and gags. While Hepburn needed training, Cary Grant [whose character was modeled after silent film star Harold Lloyd] came well equipped with his own comedic talents.

Baby the leopard wasn't the only animal to cause chaos for David and Susan. Cary Grant's previous co-star in The Awful Truth, Skippy the dog, had his own paw in on the madness. After he steals David'd priceless fossil, the search for where he buried the bone leads to a few laughs. Skippy also starred in The Thin Man as Asta.

Watching this film only furthered my love for Cary Grant. Every single film I have seen him in has never let me down. He can be funny (VERY funny) or dramatic... and still make you want to see more. His personality demands your attention and his comedic timing is perfect.

Until seeing this film, I never thought much of Katharine Hepburn, but her performance in this film won me over. I am pretty sure I will enjoy more of her early films over her later ones. She was charming and funny. I was glad I had just bought Holiday on DVD as well because I wanted to see more of her.


1 comment:

  1. Oh! I'm glad you liked this! I know a lot of people who absolutely hate it. Although I'm not a fan of either of the stars, I adore the film. :)